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African leaders commit to climate change, ask for financial support


African leaders have expressed their commitment to climate action at the ongoing COP 26 summit, while urging developed economies to offer financial support to help African countries meet their climate targets.

In 2009, wealthy nations pledged to give developing countries $100 billion a year to help them tackle climate change, but at the beginning of the COP 26 meeting in Scotland last week they pushed back the beginning of the initiative to 2023.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the president of Ghana, said Africans were "naturally disappointed" with the decision.

"Those same nations are, however, insisting that we abandon the opportunity for rapid development of our economies. That would be tantamount to enshrining in the global community inequality of the highest order," Akufo-Addo told summit delegates on Nov 2.

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, said his country has developed a robust climate plan to keep carbon use low as the country pursues development.

The plan includes restoring degraded water towers, accelerating forest restoration and increasing tree cover to at least 10 percent of the country's land area as well as promoting a sustainable blue economy and green manufacturing.

Kenya will spend $5 billion on a tree fund on top of planting 2 billion trees and other green initiatives, Kenyatta said.

He said that while Kenya expected the detailed rules and procedures for implementing the Paris Agreement will be finalized at the meeting, "We also expect that the agreement will be sufficiently inclusive to accommodate the needs and priorities of developing countries and, in particular, the special needs and circumstances of Africa."

South Africa has committed to decommissioning or repurposing all its coal-fired power plants and rolling out renewable energy. Last week, the country announced an agreement with France, Germany, the UK, the US and the European Union to assist in phasing out coal use in South Africa.

In the initial phase of the partnership, $8.5 billion will be mobilized over the next three to five years to support South Africa's transition from coal reliance to clean energy.

"This will enable us to implement our ambitious goals and to develop a model for a just transition that we hope can be used elsewhere," South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said at the summit.

Ramaphosa also wrote in the Financial Times last week that South Africa's 2050 carbon reduction targets, which are in line with the Paris Agreement, cannot be met "without more developed economies meeting promises they have made to provide financial assistance to developing economies in their energy transition".

Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio told the summit his country has identified environmental pressure points and is implementing mitigation and adaptation strategies.

However, he said, "Due to high debt servicing, we lack the fiscal space to scale up investment in climate change action," and added that Africa has access to less than 5 percent of global climate financing streams.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said in his address to the summit on Nov 1 that his country is undergoing a shift to clean transportation, developing sustainable smart cities, rationalizing water use and implementing projects to better manage coastal regions.

El-Sisi said the country recently issued green bonds worth $750 million to finance the projects. He added, however, that while Egypt understands its duties and is also aware of the magnitude of the challenges that all developing countries are facing, implementation of their climate change commitments was conditional on the amount of support they receive.

"We are concerned about the gap between the available funding and the actual needs of developing countries as well as the obstacles that our countries face to have access to it," the president said.

He said that while Africa is not responsible for the climate change crisis, it faces the most negative repercussions and the "subsequent economic, social, security and political consequences".

From : China Daily

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