African negotiators are unhappy with progress

Fr. Charles Chilufya S.J, Director of the Jesuits Justice and Ecology Network Africa opens the session on the need for an ethically-informed approach to achieving justice in mining and facilitating a just transition at COP 28 Faith Pavilion. [Courtesy]

The African Group of Negotiators have expressed their disappointment over the progress of talks as the UN climate summit nears a close.

The negotiators expressed frustrations on what was expected to be a robust framework on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) outcome during the Dubai talks.

“We are disappointed by the lack of progress on this important issue in the first week,” said Collins Nzovu, Zambian Minister of Green Economy and Environment and chair of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change.

Nzovu voiced the concerns of the African nations, emphasizing the urgent need for tangible outcomes in adaptation.

Africa, often on the front lines of climate change, faces unprecedented challenges such as persistent droughts, devastating storms and rising sea levels.

The African Group considers adaptation a matter of survival for the continent, underscoring its pivotal role in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The disappointment expressed by the African Group resonates with the recent findings of the UN Environment Programme’s Adaptation Gap report, which revealed a widening gap between the adaptation needs of vulnerable countries and the funding available.

This report, published last month, disclosed that the adaptation gap is 50 per cent larger than previously estimated, with needs now ten to 18 times greater than international public finance flows.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated, “Lives and livelihoods are being lost and destroyed, with the vulnerable suffering the most. We are in an adaptation emergency. We must act like it. And take steps to close the adaptation gap, now.”

Nzovu emphasized the economic toll, stating, “Every year, 10-20 per cent of GDP is wiped out because of the effects of climate change. We need to adapt.”

Nzovu stressed the need for qualitative and accessible funds to effectively address the challenges faced by the continent.

“We need more financing that is easily accessible. We need action on adaptation.”

He warned of the consequences if adaptation is neglected.

“For us, this must not be a peripheral issue. This must be at the centre. The global goal of adaptation is important and to call this successful COP28, the issue of adaptation must be given a priority.”

“Adaptation is a matter of life and death for Africa. Indeed, we are where we are because climate has changed,” Nzovu said, painting a picture of the dire situation in countries like Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi, where the frequency and intensity of flooding have wreaked havoc, leading to destruction and rendering the region food insecure.

COP28 is mandated to complete the work undertaken for the past two years under the Global Goal on Adaptation, launching a framework considered crucial for Africa.

The African Group emphasizes the importance of developing science-based targets within the framework, with a focus on qualitative and quantitative dimensions.

Regarding Loss and Damage, the group acknowledges the operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund but expresses caution based on past commitments that were not fulfilled. They emphasize the need for substantial resources, possibly in the trillions, to address loss and damage adequately.

Finance remains a critical aspect for the African Group, as they stressed failure of developed countries to meet the $100 billion per year mobilisation goal by 2020.

They called for increased access to grant and concessional finance for climate action, highlighting the decline in public climate finance.

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