5 December 2011

African Ministers Discuss Threats of Climate Change

Photo: Bush Radio
Medical students at COP17 demonstrate the effects of climate change on the health of the planet.

Durban — African ministers from over 50 countries met here on Sunday to discuss the latest technology that shows there is a severe threat to African food security ahead of the final week of the UN Climate Change Conference here.

They also reviewed developments in negotiations and strategies to ensure that outcomes of the Durban conference are comprehensive enough to protect Africans from the worst effects of climate change.The ministers met to reinforce their position, demanding an ambitious second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, effective action under the Bali Action Plan and scaled-up financing.

The African Common Position on Climate Change, which was agreed on September 15-16, 2011, in Bamako, Mali, highlights key positions that African ministers will be advancing in Durban at the 'high-level' international ministerial segment of the conference later this week.

Africa will be hit first and hardest by global climate change, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body that assesses the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for understanding the risk of human-induced climate change.

The continent has contributed the least to climate change, and is among the least equipped to adapt to its adverse effects.More than one billion people in Africa, and millions of others living in small islands, least developed and other vulnerable countries will bear the potentially catastrophic effects of land loss, food and water shortage, crop reduction and flooding.

In response, African ministers will be advancing a common position including a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol."Developed countries that are parties to the Kyoto Protocol must honour their commitments through ambitious mitigation measures," said Seyni Nafo, a spokesperson of the African group of negotiators.

He added that the developing countries 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 the 1990 levels, as an equitable and appropriate contribution."We stress the urgency of agreeing a second commitment period in Durban and of elaborating measures to avoid a gap between commitment periods," he said.

Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, the chairperson of the African group of climate negotiators said: "We expect that Durban will conclude the operationalisation of effective and accountable institutions under the Conference of the Parties in relation to adaptation, technology and finance in accordance with the relevant principles and provisions of the convention, the Bali Action Plan and the Cancun decisions."

"We reaffirm that the two tracks of negotiations under the Convention must continue as separate tracks and that a balanced outcome in Durban must include a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, and a legally binding outcome on the various pillars of the Bali Action Plan in accordance with the Bali Roadmap," he said.

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