KATOWICE, Poland: The UN climate change conference is scheduled to end today (Friday) at midnight, with an anticipated extension to Saturday should pending issues still require finalisation.
Over 100 Ministers from across the world are currently participating in the Conference of the Parties (COP) meeting here to provide political guidance with the mission of successfully delivering on the 2018 conference objective of finalising the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement. Officially known as the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the meeting is the world’s largest on climate change, bringing leaders of nearly all countries under one roof.
To date, a few agenda items have been concluded, but the ones African civil society considers essential, are still outstanding.
The African civil society as represented by the PanAfrican Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) says while it has seen progress in agriculture and gender issues, there are serious concerns on the climate finance, adaptation and the finalisation of the robust Paris Agreement Work Programme.An interaction with PACJA revealed that the following elements that frustrate African NGOs remain:
At the start of the COP24, African civil society demanded the fulfilment of pre-2020 climate finance commitments, putting in place robust systems for reporting on the support and ensuring new, additional and predictable climate finance beyond 2025. African civil society are now gravely concerned about very slow progress on the climate finance agenda items with developed countries not committing to fulfilling their pre-2020 commitment and not agreeing on even initiating the process for the new quantified climate finance goal. Conclusions on how the Adaptation Fund shall serve the Paris Agreement, including ensuring adequate resource mobilisation for the Fund, have not yet been agreed.African civil society see a clear intent by developed countries to shift their obligations on provision of climate finance to private institutions and even worse to developing countries. The African civil society refuses to accept this.
African civil society took note of the progress made on the national adaptation plans as conclusions have been reached and taken forward to the subsidiary body for implementation. However, they are concerned with the overall manner in which adaptation is being handled, particularly as other elements appear to be sidelined.
Adaptation, PACJA purports, has been stripped off from the transparency framework discussion and may not be part of the measurement, reporting and
Nationally Determined Contributions
The discussion on features and timeframe for the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) started even before COP21 and the Paris Agreement. African civil society is disappointed with the continuous dragging on of the agenda, which should have been concluded in the first week of COP24.
Developed countries are obliged to reduce emission and support developing countries to contribute to the efforts. African civil society has observed intent to shift the obligations to developing countries, avoiding differentiation and flexibility in both reduction and reporting process.
Therefore, they urge the COP24 presidency to show great determination and leadership to ensure the best outcomes of the conference. PACJA says this includes a robust and balanced Paris Agreement work programme that covers all elements and meets the required ambition as well as a comprehensive framework for fulfilment and reporting of the pre-2020 commitments and ambitions.
African civil society emphasises that the legacy of the Katowice conference lies on these issues and will be placed in history books as one of the stepping-stones that paved way to a better future for new generations.
Botswana deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Thabang Botshoma acknowledged the difficulties the climate meeting is facing.
“COP24 is facing challenges on certain issues such as finance and the global stock take. However the Presidency has engaged ministers to lead in areas where there are deadlocks,” he said in an interview on Wednesday.
Late on Tuesday, when starting the second part of the high-level segment of the UN Climate Change Conference, Patricia Espinosa, the UN Climate Chief conceded that there was still a way to go. “Political divisions remain,” she said. Many issues, she said, still must be overcome. Espinosa believes the task to finish the job is within grasp. Her comments came at a time when COP corridors were abuzz with the assumption that there would be a COP24.5 needed to conclude current negotiations.
*Tshipa is a Mmegi contributing writer