Africa’s lead negotiator puts out four-point agenda to salvage COP 18

As the climate talks continue in Doha, the lead negotiator for the African continent has put forward a four-point agenda to salvage the talks, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has said in a press release.

According to the release, the African Group at the UN Climate Conference has said it is galvanizing support to bring the talks “back on track” and salvage what some delegates fear could be the least productive of the Conferences of the Parties since Copenhagen 2009.

The spokesperson of the African Group of Negotiators (AGN), Mr. Seyni Nafo, says Doha 2012 could actually achieve tangible results if delegates paid due attention to issues that have the potential to strengthen multilateralism in climate talks, the release noted..

Nafo, the release says, cites the problem of a Second Commitment Period to the Kyoto Protocol; the urgent need to finalise outcomes on all the issues from the Bali mandate; securing necessary climate finance; and a conscientious effort to work on the 2015 agreement as real deal-breakers, without which Doha 2012 might not go down well in Africa

“Developed country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol must honour their commitments through ambitious mitigation obligations for a second and subsequent commitment periods.  They must reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 40 per cent during the second commitment period from 2013 to 2017 and by at least 95 per cent by 2050, compared to 1990 levels, as an equitable and appropriate contribution,” he said, adding, “We stress the urgency of agreeing on a second commitment period in Doha and of elaborating measures to avoid a legal gap between commitment periods.”

The release indicates that since the talks opened last week, African countries have maintained pressure on Annex I parties (developed countries) to ensure the environmental integrity of their emission reduction commitments, and to guarantee an equitable and appropriate level of domestic emission reductions.

According to Nafo, this can be done by closing existing loopholes, limiting the use of carbon markets and project-based mechanisms to 10 per cent of their quantified emission reduction commitments and by ensuring the additionality of carbon credits.

On the need to urgently finalize outcomes from the Bali mandate, African delegates want to see the operationalization of effective and accountable institutions under the Conference of the Parties concluded in Doha. These relate to adaptation, technology and finance, in accordance with the relevant principles and provisions of the Convention, the Bali Action Plan and the Cancun and Durban decisions, the release noted.

The release said, many African delegates are wary about the intentions of the Annex 1 countries to actually deliver on existing promises to secure climate finance necessary for the continent to undertake enough investments to cope with the impacts of climate change.

“We note with concern the gap between the end of fast start finance in 2012 and the $100 billion pledge by 2020, we are calling on all developed countries to significantly scale up the provision of new, additional, predictable and adequate resources in the interim period,” it cited Nafo as saying.

Africa would like to see all those parties contribute to the Green Climate Fund and to accelerate its operationalization with a view to addressing the most urgent adaptation needs of developing countries, the release said.

Nafo states that Africa welcomes the successful launching of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action to develop either a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention that will address the “issues necessary for a comprehensive response, including, mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, transparency of action and support, and capacity-building,” it said.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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