20 October 2012

Africa: Countries Asked to Take Climate Change Seriously

Addis Ababa — THE second annual conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa opened here on Friday with a call for African countries to push hard for scaling up national and international efforts in relation to adaptation, mitigation, finance, technology transfer and development.

Addressing delegates, the Prime Minister Federal Republic of Ethiopia, Mr Hailemariam Dessalegn said finance needed for climate change action in Africa must be real and significant.

"The performance by developed countries in activating short-term financial commitments at the Copenhagen Climate Conference can only be described as extremely disappointing. This can only be defined that their action has failed the new additional test," he said.

Mr Dessalegn said the lack of clear commitment from the developed nations, is a risk to the Green Climate Fund, noting that it will be no more than an empty shell.

The Green Climate Fund was established to make significant and ambitious contribution to the global efforts towards attaining the goals set by the International Community to combat climate change."The urgent need for funds for climate action cannot be overstated. African countries have a moral and a legal claim to it," he emphasised.

He said African countries must continue to articulate their concerns and define their position with added vigour and ensure they are well understood and accepted by everyone."Africa should continue to play the additional and rather undesirable role of getting the major economies in the world to talk to one another," he explained adding that this can help break the current log-jam.

He said his government is committed to strengthen Africa's interests in the agenda, a legacy bequeathed by the late Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi who raised the Africa's banner on high international intervention for mitigation of effects of climate change."I do not need to remind you that Africa must continue to show a united face on this issue, however frustrating and slow pace of success.

Our collective efforts offer a real chance of turning the corner if we can help achieve genuine progress at the 18th Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention of Climate Change in Doha next month," he added.The United Nation Under-Secretary and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa Mr Carlos Lopes said as the global climate changes, Africa is already witnessing increase in temperatures, with more frequent and severe incidents of droughts and floods.

Mr Lopes said unlike most other regions in the world, Africa faces the challenge of adapting to climate change from the lower end of the development spectrum."Climate change will impact on African agriculture either where it is primarily rain-fed or in its arid and semi-arid areas and other sectors including health, energy, water and sanitation will similarly be impacted by climate change," he explained.

He noted that this year's theme 'Advancing Knowledge, Policy and Practice in Climate Change and Development' is particularly appropriate.In his remarks the Deputy Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Mr Jeremiah Lengoasa said temperatures of land and sea are rising, adding that land precipitation is changing. "Areas depending on rain for agriculture are getting drier and drier with the rainfall showing a downward trend," he explained.

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