Budgetary decisions harm climate action commitments

 

Members of parliament during Southern Africa Regional Parliamentary Meeting on Climate Change. [Mactilda Mbenywe, Standard]

There is a disconnect between national climate commitments and budgetary decisions this was revealed during the Southern Africa Regional Parliamentary Meeting on Climate Change, which kicked off yesterday.

The meeting emphasised that the parliaments play a pivotal role in climate change policy formulation, legislation, and oversight. However, many African parliaments face challenges in effectively participating in climate response actions.

Members agreed that only a few countries in Africa have enacted climate change legislation, and there is often a disconnect between national climate commitments and budgetary decisions.

The meeting which brought together parliamentarians, experts, and stakeholders from across the region aimed to address the critical issue of climate change, and provide a platform for knowledge sharing and capacity building.

Organized by the African Group of Negotiators Experts Support (AGNES), in partnership with the Parliament of Botswana, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, UNDP Botswana, and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), this event aimed to enhance awareness and capacity for parliamentary action on climate change.

"In the face of climate change's relentless march, our parliaments stand as beacons of hope, where the urgent need for action meets the power of legislation. Let this workshop catalyse climate action, where we forge pathways to a sustainable future, one commitment at a time," said Balázs Horváth, UNDP Resident Representative.

The meeting featured a comprehensive agenda, including sessions on the understanding of climate change, national and international commitments under the Paris Agreement, and the impacts of climate change in Southern Africa.

"We gather here today with a shared commitment to building a resilient and sustainable future for our nations. Climate change knows no borders, and its impacts are felt by our communities, especially those in rural areas, who rely on the land for their livelihoods," emphasized Mabusa Pule, Acting Minister of Environment and Tourism, Botswana.

He added: "As we navigate extreme weather events and disruptions to our food production, we recognise the urgent need to act." 

The gathering also highlighted the importance of developing a model Climate Change Act to guide countries in enacting climate change legislation.

Dr George Wamukoya, Agnes Team Lead, emphasised, "We are aware of the frequency and magnitude of climate risks, including tropical cyclones within the region. This has a cost on our people and the economy. As MPs, you have a responsibility to our people. We hope this is the beginning of our conversation and assure you of our readiness to support and work with you."

The gathering provided a platform for parliamentarians and experts to discuss actions for strengthening climate change laws in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and mainstreaming climate change into parliamentary structures and calendars.

Participants explored ways to align national commitments with the goals of the Paris Agreement, enhance climate resilience, and promote equitable economic growth. The event also fostered collaboration and knowledge sharing among parliamentarians and stakeholders, contributing to enhanced climate action across Southern Africa.

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