Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn who was speaking at the opening of the two-day Second Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Friday October 19, 2012 said the performance of the developed countries in activating the short-term financial commitments at the Copenhagen Climate Conference can only be described as “extremely disappointing”, adding that “However it is defined, their actions have failed the ‘new additionality’ test,” he said.
He argued that “there is now a real risk that the Green Climate Fund will be no more than an empty shell.”
Prime Minister Desalegn argued further that African countries have a moral and legal claim to climate change financing.
“I cannot stress too strongly that the finance needed for climate action in Africa must be real and significant,” he said, calling on African leaders to continue to articulate the continent’s concerns and delimit their positions with added vigour.
He also called on African leaders and climate negotiators to help achieve genuine progress at COP 18 to be held in Doha in November 2012.
“Our efforts in this direction must, of course, be based on scientific research and empirically sound assessments. We will stand a much better chance of making progress if we negotiate on the basis of sound scientific data,” he said.
In his address, Dr. Carlos Lopes, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) reiterated the risks that Africa faces from climate change.
“It has been said that the global climate is already changing. With this fact comes the stark truth that Africa is already being affected in various ways. We are already witnesses to increasing temperature, more frequent and severe incidents of drought and floods, retreats in snow coverage and rising sea levels,” he said.
“These things matter to us. There is the well known fact of Africa’s vulnerability despite having contributed least to the problem. Unlike most other regions, Africa faces the challenge of adapting to climate change from the lower end of the development spectrum,” he said.
Dr. Lopes indicated that climate change will impact on African agriculture either where it is primarily rain-fed or in its arid and semi-arid areas.
“Other sectors including health, energy, water and sanitation will similarly be impacted by climate change and all of them will require appropriate policy responses,” he said.
The conference being organised by the African Climaet Policy Centre (ACPC) of the ECA is under the theme, “Advancing Knowledge, Policy and Practice in Climate Change and Development”.
Dr. Lopes urged that Africa’s position in the forthcoming climate change negotiations has to be well prepared so as to obtain its unchanging objectives of obtaining access to more finance, appropriate technology and capacity development needs.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia