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Africa calls for a fair, equitable and legally binding agreement during the COP 21

Africa calls for a fair, equitable and legally binding agreement during the COP 21

November 10, 2015

Africa calls for a fair, equitable and legally binding agreement during the COP 21
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JOINT PRESS RELEASE

Addis Ababa, 10 November 2015. As part of the preparation of the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21), the United Nations Conference on Climate Change that will take place from November 30 to December 11 in Paris, different stakeholders involved in the negotiations reaffirmed the necessity for the continent to negotiate a fair, equitable and binding agreement on Climate Change. This was during a session of the “Fridays of the Commission” organized at the African Union headquarters under the theme: “Towards Climate Justice” on 06th November 2015. The session brought together various participants including the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), members of the diplomatic corps, religious leaders and representatives of the African civil society.

Speaking during the opening session of the Fridays of the Commission, Mr. Desire Assogbavi, Head of Oxfam Liaison Office to the African Union, emphasized the fact that the climate variability is increasingly having damaging consequences on people across the continent. He also pointed out that Africa should be at the forefront of the negotiations since it is one of the world’s most vulnerable continents to climate change. “Africa must strategically be engaged in this process.” He insisted.

Mr. Ayele Hegena, Director of Law and standards at the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and member of the African group of negotiators (AGN) on Climate Change, declared that COP 21 is an opportunity for the continent to claim its right to sustainable development as well as to make sure that the African common positions are featured in the final text to be adopted. Mr. Ayele also presented some of the expectations of Africa during COP 21. Those expectations include the need to have a comprehensive agreement focusing on the issues of mitigation, adaptation, financing and technology transfer. Indeed, only an inclusive approach can be successful in addressing the challenges of climate change. Moreover, he said that the need of the continent would be taken into account only if a differentiation approach based on the realities and circumstances of each continent.

On the other hand, Hon. Awudu Cyprian Mbaya, Executive President of the Pan African Parliamentary Network on Climate Change (PAPNCC), called upon the African group of negotiators to ensure that the Paris’s agreement is in line with the expectations of the African people. Hon. Awudu took advantage of the session to share with the participants the work the parliamentarians are doing in Africa to raise awareness on the existence climate change. In that regard, he highlighted the need to mainstream climate change in school curricula across the continent. He also pledged the total support of the PAPNCC to African governments, specialized institutions and civil society organizations who are defending the African positions. “I hope the people of Africa will be able to smile after COP 21. I am optimistic in the sense that I am sure the negotiators will turn our slogan “One Africa, one voice and one position” into a reality. An unfair agreement will be considered as a gross violation of the African people’s rights.” he concluded.

Mrs. Mwanahamisi Singano, Lead of the Oxfam Public campaign encouraged Africans to advocate for gender responsive agreement. As a matter of fact, women, most often responsible for feeding their families, are being hit hardest by the impact of climate change. She also said that the willingness of the two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, namely China and the United States of America, to reduce their emission is a positive message to the world.

In the same vein, Mr. Mithika Mwenda, Secretary General of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) urged African countries to remain united during COP 21 as well as to avoid a mitigation centric position, as was the was the previously. He added that instead of 20C, Africa should stand for 1,5 0C during the negotiations. Furthermore, he argued that justice should be at the center of the Agreement in Paris. “Climate justice means that those who have caused the damages of the climate change should also provide means to solve the consequences on other people.” He said.

Aba Melake Selam, representing the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, stated that the protection of our environment is a sacred duty for all the mankind. He underlined that the consideration of that moral obligation will pave the way for a fair agreement during COP 21. He also said that the Church will keep supporting African stakeholders in that regard.

All the participants agreed that the continent should be consistent during the negotiations COP 21 as well as they highlighted the need for an inclusive and global agreement during the Conference. The agreement to be reached at the Conference of the parties will replace the Kyoto Protocol that was adopted in Kyoto, Japan on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005.

For any inquiry, please contact:

Ms. Ambela Barbara | Department of Economic Affairs | African Union Commission | Tel: +251115 18 2668 |Email: Ambelab@africa-union.org

Mr. Desire Assogbavi | Head of Oxfam International Liaison Office to the African Union| E-mail: assogbavi@oxfaminternational.org

Media Contact: Jerry Laurence Lemogo | Directorate of Information and Communication | African Union Commission | Tel: +251929188440 | E-mail: Laurencej@africa-union.org | Website: www.au.int | Addis Ababa | Ethiopia

Directorate of Information and Communication
Directorate of Information and Communication | Information and Communication | African Union Commission

Tel: +251-11-5517700 | Fax: | E-mail: DIC@africa-union.org | Web:www.au.int

Addis Ababa | Ethiopia