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President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

As world leaders prepare for the UN framework convention on climate change (COP27) taking place in Egypt in November, Africa must once more speak with one voice.

This was the message President Cyril Ramaphosa gave to heads of state gathered for the two-day 35th ordinary session of the assembly of the heads of state and government of the AU taking place in Ethiopia.

“A one-size-fits-all approach to complex issues such as a transition from fossil fuels that disregards the realities on the ground in Africa will simply not work, and is neither just nor equitable.

“To achieve the expected results for Africa at COP27, it is imperative that we develop a strong and well-co-ordinated common African position that we formulate a set of robust key messages that encapsulate Africa’s aspirations,” said Ramaphosa, who attended virtually.

In his capacity as the outgoing co-ordinator of the AU's committee of African heads of state and government on climate change, Ramaphosa said the Covid-19 pandemic had set back multilateral processes, including climate change.

“Africa is experiencing the worst impacts of phenomena associated with global warming such as droughts, floods and cyclones.”

Ramaphosa said despite not being responsible for climate change, it is costing African economies between 3%-5% of their GDP.

“It is Africans who are bearing both the brunt and the cost.”

He said a number of key outcomes had been achieved since COP26 in Glasgow in 2021 included the conclusion of the Paris agreement work programme which will provide a basis for parties to implement the agreement fully.

“The complex Glasgow climate pact strives to strike the right balance by accommodating the differing national circumstances and capacities among the nearly 200 parties. The aim is that all are enabled and empowered to contribute their fair share as well as to enhance their climate ambition.”

Furthermore, he said Glasgow sent a clear signal that the world will be safer under the 1.5°C temperature rise scenario, compared to 2°C or more.

“Developed economy countries have agreed to support the implementation of just transitions that promote sustainable development, poverty eradication, and the creation of decent work and quality jobs.

“Much more work needs to be done for Africa and the world to keep global temperature rise to 1.5°C by the end of the century.”

Financial support to enable developing economy countries to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change remained inadequate, said Ramaphosa.

“Africa’s special needs and circumstances need to be recognised globally because of our natural resource-based economies, and owing to high levels of poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment.”

Ramaphosa said such a decision would unlock the necessary financial flows to the African continent as it embarked on just transitions towards a low-carbon future.

“As we prepare for the UN framework convention on climate change COP27 taking place in the Arab Republic of Egypt in November, Africa must once more speak with one voice, expressing their unwavering support for the implementation of the UNFCCC and the Paris agreement, and for the primacy of multilateralism.”

On the AU climate committee’s performance and impact during the past two years, Ramaphosa said the finalisation of the African climate change and resilient development strategy and action plan 2022/2032 will be launched during the meeting.

“It provides a broad outline for harmonised and co-ordinated actions to respond to the impacts of climate change, as well as to plan for the continent’s low-emission and climate-resilient future.”

On work done in advancing the Africa adaptation initiative, he said the AAI has successfully evolved into a promising vehicle for achieving transformative adaptation results for African countries.

“The programme of work of the Africa renewable energy Initiative has continued. This is a transformative and Africa-led effort to accelerate and scale up harnessing the continent’s huge renewable energy potential”

He said his report also includes the African green stimulus programme, as well as the AU’s green recovery action plans.

He told leaders that SA’s term as co-ordinator of the AU climate committee had come to an end and that he will hand over the baton to Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.



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