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S. Africa has high expectations for COP 26


South Africa will go to the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) with high expectations, chief among them being to successfully engage on the Paris Agreement and support for developing countries by developed countries to adapt and mitigate against the effects of climate change, said a cabinet minister.

South African Minister of Forestry and Fisheries and Environmental Affairs Barbara Creecy said the country is committed to "constructively" work with other countries to address climate change. She pointed out that South Africa and Africa expect to see adaptation treated in a balanced manner and implemented.

"Our country goes to Glasgow with a clear mandate to negotiate for the full implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, including the global goals on mitigation, adaptation and support for developing countries, to avoid the worst impacts of climate change on our people and the environment," said Creecy. "Developing countries generally, and South Africa in particular, cannot implement ambitious mitigation targets unless there is sustainable, cost-effective financing from the developed countries and other multilateral and philanthropic institutions."

Creecy pointed out that her country would like to see mitigation, adaptation and the means of implementation of climate action at COP 26.

Romy Chevallier, a senior researcher in one of the country's think tanks, South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), said African countries have agreed to advocate for financial assistance for adaptation and closing the gap on climate finance on what is required and what is available to compliment the Paris Agreement commitments.

She said, "While there are many common agenda items on the table for COP 26, in some areas developed and developing countries differ in their interests and priorities.There is a call from African countries to give finance, specifically for adaptation projects. They are calling for 50 percent of all climate finance for adaptation delivered on a grant basis. At the COP there will be a call for countries globally to make sure they are committing to climate change commitment and support behind those commitments."

Chevallier observed that it is the first time that adaptation has been listed as an item on the draft agenda. She emphasized that there would be some discussion around finance and delivery to African countries. Chevallier stated that there has to be clarity about how the developed world will contribute in the long term financial goals and to who. The developed world promised to contribute $100 billion per year to help developing countries. She stated that the developed world has to honor that commitment.

The WWF South Africa senior policy analyst Prabhat Upadhyaya told China Daily that parties have to fulfil existing negotiating mandates from the Paris Agreement and UNFCCC, particularly on common time frames for the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Upadhyaya said they should resolve rules for market and nonmarket approaches.

He said, "Developed countries should deliver on their commitment to scale up climate finance to $100 billion and beyond in the post-2020 period. They have to ensure that the Paris Agreement is strengthened over the coming five years to ensure it can meet ambitious climate goals and pivot towards facilitating implementation."

Upadhyaya called on countries to start divesting in fossil fuels and investing in renewable energy on a massive scale. He noted that South Africa is making progress even though there is resistance from some quarters and lack of access to public finance to enable just transition.

From : China Daily

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