Ethiopia: COVID-19 Challenges Global Commitment Against Climate Change - Negotiator

ADDIS ABABA-The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic is challenging the global alliances against climate change, Ethiopian climate negotiator said.

Gebru Jember, Ethiopian negotiator and Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) group at UN climate negotiations and Global Green Growth Institute (GIGI) Strategic Advisor told The Ethiopian Herald that besides severely affecting the day to day activities of the world's population, Covid-19 has also posed a challenge in the global negotiation and alliance to curb the effects of climate change.

Gebru, who has been negotiating for over 12 years and leading the LDCs group of negotiators as a Chair for 2 years on behalf of Ethiopia said "The socio-economic impact of Covid-19 is clear and it exerts pressure on different global and urgent agendas including the international climate change negotiations."

According to him, the annual Cope 26 Conference of Practice and other conferences that discuss the implementations of the Paris Agreement has been postponed and others have been held with video conference due to Covid-19.

It is uncertain when to hold the postponed Cope 26 and other conferences following the pandemic.

The virus also affects the options of acquiring multilateral and bilateral climate change funds that help to facilitate negotiations, cascading decisions, and ways forward to tackle climate change.

Currently, most countries of the world prioritize how to ease the economic and health impacts of Covid-19.

"Various measures and funds on climate change are now abandoned due to the unmanageable spread of the virus", he said.

However, most countries are giving more attention to exploring ways to a so-called new strategy green recovery agenda, according to him.

The strategy said a win-win approach that targets green growth path implementations after recovery from Covid-19 and addresses COVID-19 socio-economic impact through creating green jobs, he noted.

Moreover, international negotiations held in various groups to realize the Paris agreement should not only emphasize on economic recovery unless things become difficult to control climate change, Gebru said.

The negotiator also said Ethiopia follows a green growth strategy mainstreamed with its Growth and Transformations Plans (GTP). The whole world should implement green strategy and some countries are showing a willingness to allocate funds for the green recovery agenda Ethiopia launched the Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy in 2011 and it is globally recognized.

The green growth strategies; green urban, industry parks, renewable energy, soil, and water rehabilitation activities (conserving carbon in soil), forest development and forest conservation, among others, are manifestations to the country's endeavors in the area, he added.

From individual to national and international commitment to climate initiatives is fundamental to curb climate change, as to him.

Climate change has not any geographical limitations but LDCs are more sensitive due to the lack of strong infrastructure.

For him, proactive measures are required to cope with climate change globally.

Global solidarity is needed to combat climate change and green climate funds are not enough to implement a green growth strategy except every country's commitment to adapt and cope with climate change impact.

The LDCs chaired/represented by Gebru are 48 nations that are especially vulnerable to climate change but have contributed the least to the problem.

They work together at the intergovernmental negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to insist on wealthier nations act in accordance with their responsibility for creating the problem and capability of addressing it.

More From: Ethiopian Herald

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