COP27 climate conference: A conference in Africa for Africa? | Africa | DW

the COP27 climate conference in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh is called the “African COP” – and not only because of the place where it takes place. It is not the first, but the fifth time that world leaders have held a UN climate conference on the African continent. But this time the focus is clearly on the Finding solutions for countries in the Global South – especially in Africa. As well as finding ways to help the continent meet climate goals, the conference will also hear delegates calling for more help to societies that are already severely underdeveloped Effects of the climate crisis Suffer.

A question of funding

Many African countries are facing major challenges and urgent problems: corruption, famine, civil wars or collapsing infrastructures – there is certainly no shortage of crises that would be able to push the challenges of climate change into the background in the short term.

Africa is already suffering from the effects of global warming more than other continents. Mention may be made, for example, of the recurring persistent droughts in the Horn of Africa and other regions of the African continent. Africa receives only 5.5 percent of global climate aid. At the same time, the continent is responsible for less than 3 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions.

The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, told DW that the Governments in Africa this decade a lot more money needed to meet the challenges.

According to Adesina, the continent needs up to 1.6 trillion US dollars to implement the commitments under the Paris climate protection agreement.

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During the 2021 COP climate negotiations in Glasgow, delegates from developing countries called on the countries responsible for the majority of greenhouse gases to pay more for climate-related damage. In addition to funds already pledged to reduce emissions. So far, the largest global economic powers have been very hesitant to respond to these demands.

Some damage already irreversible

Regardless of what funds are made available to African nations in the future, some damage from global warming is already irreversible, said Kenneth Kemucie Mwangi, a climate analyst at the East African climate institute ICPAC.

Climate analyst Mwangi says some effects of climate change are already irreversible

“Global temperatures have risen by an average of 1.2 degrees in recent years when comparing the current period to pre-industrial times, and this change is currently irreversible,” Mwangi said.

He also stressed that the temperatures in the Western Indian Ocean in particular are increasing significantly heated have led to extreme weather events across much of Africa, including the ongoing drought situation. These climate changes will probably persist, according to the climate expert.

“We used to think that we would only feel the effects of climate change in the future,” Mwangi continues. “Now we no longer talk about the future. We are now in the middle of the climate crisis, very deep in it.”

Humanitarian Aid Needed

In addition to internationally agreed financing to mitigate the effects of global warming, many countries in Africa will also become increasingly dependent on foreign aid as climate-related disasters become more frequent.

Gemma Connell, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) regional office for South and East Africa, told DW that more than 36 million people have already been affected by the drought.

“More than 21 million people are acutely food insecure. In concrete terms, this means they do not know where their next meal will come from,” said Connell, adding that in Somalia alone 300,000 people are currently at risk of dying from malnutrition.

Connell underlined that the issue of injustice must be raised above all others at COP27. “If we look at the drought in the Horn of Africa, for example, each of the affected countries – Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and others – contribute less than 0.1 percent to global greenhouse gas emissions. Less than 0.1 percent! And yet the people in these countries are dying as a result of the global climate crisis.”

Immediate action required

Connell said the talks in Sharm el-Sheikh presented an opportunity for African leaders to speak out on an issue that really affects people on the continent. The voices of young Africans in particular are now needed to bring about real change.

“African youth should demand global accountability and justice. I hope this leads to real change,” Connell said.

Mwangi of the East African climate institute ICPAC said change is possible – but only if richer nations commit to doing much more to tackle the climate crisis in the Global South. No expense should be spared.

“We still have a chance to probably salvage the situation,” said Mwangi. “We can [Emissionen] continue to reduce over the next few years – that’s the commitment that developed countries in particular should commit to,” he added. “We may not be able to reverse a lot of the damage once we’re past 1.5 degrees.”

Also, Connell, of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, said the priority was to immediately provide funds to support regions already affected by climate change. “Aid in the form of money plays a big part in this, especially because money allows people to make decisions about what they need to survive this crisis in a dignified way,” she said.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Jane Mohammed told DW earlier this year that the COP27 talks should serve as “an implementation COP” as little of the money available for climate finance has made its way to Africa so far.

“The climate crisis is happening in Africa right now,” she said. “If we don’t manage to show a real commitment to the continent now, then we have to admit that we really have broken our promises.”

UN Vice Secretary-General Amina Mohammed in Addis Ababa

UN Vice Secretary-General Amina Mohammed demands that industrialized countries meet their commitments

This article was adapted from English by Antonio Cascais.

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