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African countries warned to be vigilant at Paris climate negotiations

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COP 21African countries have been called upon to be vigilant at the Paris climate negotiations as the outcome of the current negotiation could be problematic for the continent, a press release from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) says.

Carlos Lopes, the Executive Secretary of the ECA gave the warning when he addressed a cross-section of African delegations in Paris.

According to Lopes, the negotiation could potentially be problematic for Africa if it is not based on the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capacities, and the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) do not fully recognize historical emissions.

Delegations from African countries are seeking a solution to differences that have somehow stalled on the main issues of African concern such as a balanced implementation of adaptation and mitigation; financing of the INDCs. To date, 53 of the 54 African countries have submitted their contributions.

He noted that the fact that 53 countries have submitted their contributions showed Africa’s readiness, he also indicated that now that negotiations have entered their political phase, Africa must do everything to ensure that the continent is not shortchanged in the way its interests are reflected in the final agreement.

“In this context, the planned contributions determined at the national level may be Africa’s best outcome from these negotiations,” he said.

The release notes that earlier Thursday December 10, 2015, the French foreign minister Laurent Fabius had urged African countries to play their part in ensuring that the negotiations progressed faster towards a resolution of the outstanding issues. Mr Xolisa, a member of the African Group of Negotiators, said they would take the time they need to ensure that the final agreement reflects Africa’s concerns, as much as possible.

According to Mr. Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, a negotiator of the DRC and member of the Board of Directors of the Green climate Fund, progress in the COP 21 negotiations is painstakingly slow.

“As the African Group, there are issues and principles that are non-negotiable, such as the principle differentiation between parties. We cannot say, today, that we must all undertake the same level of effort in emissions reduction. This is not possible,” the release cited him as saying.

Meanwhile, reports from Paris say the final agreement can’t be reached today Friday December 11 and has been extended to Saturday December 12, 2015.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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