AU: Africa should be at forefront of climate change talks
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AU: Africa should be at forefront of climate change talks

Africa should be at the forefront of negotiations that focus around climate change agreements, the African Union Commission said on Tuesday.

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The AUC agreed to the move by consensus during a session at its headquarters that spoke to the theme “Towards Climate Justice” on Friday, November 6 during its Fridays of the Commission session.


The AUC and stakeholders who attended the session agreed that African countries attending COP21, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, should remain united during the negotiations, as there is a great need “for an inclusive and global agreement during the Conference.”


Part of the consensus was that the continent should stand together in calling for a limit of 1,5ºC in the rise of global temperature rise limit, instead of the mooted 2ºC target, which would ensure protection of the environment and the continent’s people.


Desire Assogbavi, Head of Oxfam Liaison Office to the AUC said that the continent was vulnerable to the “damaging consequences” of climate change. Referring to discussions around climate change, he called on the continent to be strategically engaged in “this process” to ensure climate justice for all living on the continent.


The session saw the AUC, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, religious leaders and members and representatives from the diplomatic corps, and African civil society in attendance.


Issues discussed ahead of the COP21 event, which is scheduled to take place at the end of November included how climate change is affecting the African continent.


Much would be expected of Africa at COP21 and these expectations, stakeholders discussed, included a “comprehensive agreement focusing on the issues of mitigation, adaptation, financing and technology transfer.”


Ayele Hegena, Director of Law and standards at the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and a member of the African group of negotiators (AGN) on Climate Change said: “COP21 is an opportunity for the continent to claim its right to sustainable development as well as to make sure that the African common positions are featured in the final text to be adopted.”


Participants at the session noted that the outcome of the Paris agreement should be “in line with the expectations of the African people.”


COP21 is scheduled to take place in Paris from November 30 to December 11.

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