Recently, members from the Morocco Steering Committee for the 22nd session of the Conference of Parties (COP22) met with the some civil society organizations to discuss the possibilities of having enhanced civil society participation in COP22 meeting in Marrakech Morocco.
The COP, which will sit from 7-18 November 2016, is expected to bring together over 181 countries under the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate change (UNFCCC).
It is an opportunity for African to reflect on the challenges it has faced in dealing with climate change impacts and exploit the opportunity to ensure that the outcomes of the Conference address their concerns. It should be noted that Africa has already hosted two COP meetings before that is, COP12 that took place in 2006 at Nairobi Kenya and COP17 that took place in 2011 at Durban South Africa.
Even so, COP22 comes at a time when climate change impacts have intensified in the recent times, with frequent hazards of high magnitude resulting into loss of lives, property, agricultural land and pollution of water bodies among others that is already driving millions of people into abject poverty.
For instance, in the 2010 Bududa district in eastern Uganda suffered one of the worst climate change hazards in recent time where thousands of people were buried by mudslides, lives and property was lost. In addition, in 2011, Teso Sub region was hit by floods that destroyed agricultural land and human settlements; this resulted into an outbreak of famine in the region. Further, in 2014, Karamoja region in northeastern Uganda suffered a prolonged drought that last over six month, lives and livestock was lost that required intervention of government for food aid.
As much as these hazards occur both in developing and developed countries, the developed countries has a better means of dealing with the impacts whereas the developing countries lack the technology and human capacity to predict and mitigate the hazard and to contain the hazard as well. For instance during the mudslides in Bududa, government of Uganda with the help of the army and community members used hand hoe to dig out the bodies and would be survivors, this intensifies the risk even further.
It is important that the negotiations in the COP 22 whose theme will be monitoring sustainable development goals and commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change focus on establishing the strategies through which Africa can be best adapted to managing climate change impacts.
Therefore, the representatives from partner countries who will be participating in negotiations must advocate for establishment and operationalisation of Climate Change Finance for Africa that will be used to build the adaptive capacity of local communities to climate change hazards in rural communities and prone areas of Africa.
In addition, there must be avenues for technology development and transfer of technology from developed countries to developing countries on best mechanism of dealing with climate change especially on water and agricultural sector, which supports more than half of African population.
Finally, as a means to embrace sustainable development, respective governments must be urged to embrace mitigation through subsidizing the cost of exploiting renewable energy, planting more trees to absorb carbon emissions and encouraging use of public transport as opposed to personal cars.
By taking actions jointly on Climate change, we shall be able to pass on a better sustaining environment to the next generation than we actually inherited and avoid blame game.
This article was written by;
Programs and research coordinator
Africa institute for energy governance