African lead­ers laud Cli­mate Sum­mit

New ini­tia­tives to ad­dress agri­cul­ture and re­new­able en­ergy agreed upon

Africa Renewal - - Contents - By Daniel Shep­ard

African lead­ers have wel­comed the Cli­mate Sum­mit held at the United Na­tions in New York in Septem­ber 2014, and say it in­creases the like­li­hood that a mean­ing­ful global cli­mate agree­ment will be reached in Paris in 2015. The sum­mit was hosted by UN Sec­re­tary- Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon to mo­bi­lize support for a strong cli­mate agree­ment and to catal­yse cli­mate ac­tion.

An­nounced at the sum­mit were a range of new ini­tia­tives re­gard­ing agri­cul­ture, re­new­able en­ergy, forests, and South-South co­op­er­a­tion in Africa. The spokesper­son for the African Group ne­go­tia­tors who rep­re­sent African coun­tries at the UN, Seyni Nafo, said the sum­mit sent a strong po­lit­i­cal mes­sage — that a global cli­mate agree­ment was needed. It al­lowed lead­ers to come to­gether to ex­press their com­mit­ment to an agree­ment in Paris.

“This is very im­por­tant to us. The last time world lead­ers came to­gether to dis­cuss cli­mate change was in 2009 in Copen­hagen, which did not pro­duce the best sou­venir,” said Mr. Nafo.

Tan­za­nian Pres­i­dent Jakaya Mr­isho Kik­wete, speak­ing for the African Group, said the sum­mit “af­forded us with a unique op­por­tu­nity to put our minds to­gether and de­lib­er­ate on the way to save this planet from dis­as­ter and ad­vance on green path­ways. It was very op­por­tune.”

Many African lead­ers em­pha­sized that while Africa is suf­fer­ing from the con­se­quences of a sit­u­a­tion it did not cre­ate, they were com­mit­ted to tak­ing ac­tion that will set the con­ti­nent on a sus­tain­able course. But they stressed that greater in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion is nec­es­sary, in­clud­ing more fi­nanc­ing and tech­nol­ogy shar­ing.

Sig­nif­i­cant an­nounce­ments

Most im­por­tantly, the sum­mit was the plat­form for a num­ber of sig­nif­i­cant new an­nounce­ments, in­clud­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of the Africa Clean En­ergy Cor­ri­dor (ACEC), a re­gional ini­tia­tive to trans­form Africa’s en­ergy mix through the de­vel­op­ment of re­new­able re­sources and the cre­ation of a clean 5,000-mile elec­tric­ity trans­mis­sion grid from Egypt to South Africa.

The aim is to support the sus­tain­able growth of Africa’s en­ergy needs. En­dorsed by the coun­tries of the East­ern Africa Power Pool and the South­ern African Power Pool, the ACEC will ac­cel­er­ate the ex­pan­sion of re­new­able en­ergy by us­ing a co­or­di­nated, re­gional ap­proach to en­ergy plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment.

Co­op­er­a­tion on re­new­able en­ergy de­ploy­ment in the re­gion could re­duce gen­er­a­tion costs by 4% and nearly triple elec­tric­ity sup­ply, trans­form­ing the cur­rent en­ergy mix of a large por­tion of the African con­ti­nent.

“Africa’s surg­ing eco­nomic growth can be fu­elled by an en­ergy mix that em­pha­sizes the de­vel­op­ment of its vast re­new­able en­ergy re­sources,” said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the chair­per­son of the African Union. “Low-car­bon eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment pow­ered by re­new­able en­ergy can help meet the chal­lenge that cli­mate change presents while im­prov­ing the liveli­hoods and eco­nomic well-be­ing of peo­ple all over Africa.”

About 80% of all elec­tric­ity in East­ern and South­ern Africa is cur­rently gen­er­ated from fos­sil fu­els like gas, oil and coal. Re­gional de­mand for elec­tric­ity

Low-car­bon eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment pow­ered by re­new­able en­ergy can help meet the chal­lenge that cli­mate change presents while im­prov­ing the liveli­hoods and eco­nomic well-be­ing of peo­ple all over Africa.

is ex­pected to at least dou­ble over the next 25 years.

New cli­mate-smart agri­cul­ture

Another ini­tia­tive launched at the sum­mit, the Africa Cli­mate- Smart Agri­cul­ture Al­liance, will help about 25 mil­lion farm­ing house­holds across Africa to prac­tice cli­mate-smart agri­cul­ture by 2025. Set up by the African Union, the New Part­ner­ship for Africa’s De­vel­op­ment ( NEPAD) and five non­govern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions ( World Vi­sion, Ox­fam, CARE In­ter­na­tional, Con­cern World­wide and Catholic Re­lief Ser­vices), the al­liance demon­strates how gov­ern­ments and civil so­ci­ety can work to­gether to­wards a common goal.

The ini­tia­tive is part of a larger global ef­fort to pro­tect 500 mil­lion farm­ers from the ef­fects of cli­mate change, while in­creas­ing agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tiv­ity. More than 20 gov­ern­ments and over 30 or­ga­ni­za­tions and com­pa­nies an­nounced they would join the newly launched Global Al­liance for Cli­mate-Smart Agri­cul­ture. Th­ese coun­tries rep­re­sent mil­lions of farm­ers, at least a quar­ter of the world’s ce­real pro­duc­tion, 43 mil­lion un­der­nour­ished peo­ple and 16% of to­tal agri­cul­tural green­house gas emis­sions.

At the sum­mit, China an­nounced that it would con­trib­ute US$6 mil­lion for South-South co­op­er­a­tion on cli­mate ac­tion.

Sav­ing forests

A num­ber of African coun­tries, in­clud­ing Liberia, the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of the Congo, Ethiopia and Uganda, signed on to the New York Dec­la­ra­tion on Forests, which calls for slash­ing the rate of nat­u­ral for­est loss by half by 2020, and to­tally elim­i­nat­ing it by 2030. More than 105 ma­jor com­pa­nies also joined the ini­tia­tive, promis­ing to sus­tain­ably source prod­ucts from for­est re­gions.

Liberian for­eign af­fairs min­is­ter Au­gus­tine Kpehe Ngafaun said the sum­mit elicited “con­crete com­mit­ments from the global com­mu­nity on re­duc­ing green­house gas emis­sions and other mea­sures aimed at achiev­ing sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.”

A woman draw­ing wa­ter from a man-made pond in drought-s

UNDP So­ma­lia

stricken So­ma­lia.

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