Good examples instill hope for the climate

African countries have historically had little influence in climate negotiations. They have been participants rather than stakeholders. According to NAI researcher Atakilte Beyene this is changing and Africa’s possibilities to have a say in climate negotiations are improving.

In the ongoing climate conference in Marrakech, the Africa Group of Negotiators (AGN), an alliance of African Union member states, represents the continent, in the international climate change negotiations with a common and unified voice.

“Thanks to AGN, Africa’s countries are standing more or less united when it comes to climate negotiations. By having common, well-argued strategies a lot can be done. It is also important to understand the politics on the global level and have a plan A, B and C”, says Atakilte Beyene.

Atakilte Beyene does research on agriculture in Ethiopia.

There are also good examples to be found on the African continent. One is Ethiopia. Thanks to public investments in land and water development and education of farmers, this largely farming-dependent country has managed to achieve both accelerated economic growth and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases. Ethiopia’s lead on this is quite interesting as attaining both these goals simultaneously is seen essentially as incompatible for developing economies in general.

“The international community needs to identify and support the strategies that work, like for example the agricultural improvements in Ethiopia. Many ongoing programs need to be evaluated and new ones need to be implemented. It is necessary to be realistic and understand that practical implementation takes time”, says Atakilte Beyene.

The African Union has put together a long-term strategic agenda that goes as far as to the year 2063. It addresses many issues, including agriculture and climate change.

“Climate change is a global issue and all countries need to be committed and take responsibility. Seen in this light, financing climate-improvements, especially in Africa’s agricultural sector, is actually a compensation for damages caused on the climate by the world’s most carbon intensive countries, that are rarely to be found on the African continent”, Atakilte Beyene argues.

Facts and more reading

Morocco is hosting the 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Marrakech from 7 - 18 November 2016. COP22 will build on last year’s Conference of Parties in Paris (COP21), focusing on action to achieve the commitments of the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change. http://cop22.ma/en/#

Consequences of climate change for Africa are devastating and threaten to push millions of people into extreme poverty by 2030, largely due to lower crop yields,higher food prices, and negative health impacts.

African Union Agenda 2063: http://www.un.org/en/africa/osaa/pdf/au/agenda2063.pdf

 
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