Empty climate change finance promises frustrate Africa, Denton urges a new approach

Marrakech, 08 October, 2014 (ECA) - Participants at the on-going Fourth annual Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-IV) today expressed deep frustration at unredeemed climate finance promises by developed countries to their counterparts in Africa. 

Ms Fatima Denton, Coordinator of the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) and Director of Special Initiatives Division at ECA went beyond the frustration and suggested that Africa should “turn its back on promises that have not gone the extra mile, commitments that have not translated into adaptation resources and funds that have remained pledges and hollow words for our vulnerable communities of farmers, fishers, pastoralists”.  

Addressing some 500 participants at the opening session, Ms Denton warned that the international agreement (the so-called post post-Kyoto climate agreement) under negotiation can only be meaningful to Africa if commitments to support adaptation have a legally binding provision.  

“As such, Africa has proposed a Global Goal for Adaptation in supporting such an outcome. Our governments already bear the costs of adaptation, and these must find recognition as part of contributions in the new agreement”, she charged. She also charged that action must ripple through to mitigation efforts, explaining that “this means developed nations must shoulder the overwhelming responsibility to turn mitigation efforts into decisive  actions”. She assured that Africa and other developing countries are playing their  part. “We have recognized that the pledged mitigation efforts by developing countries for 2020 exceed those of the developed world, despite our lower levels of responsibility for causing climate change and limited capacities to address  it”, she added. “Africa and the rest of the world will not gain from a weak agreement in Paris in 2015.We cannot bend history”, she stressed.

Turning to participants, she said that “We are here today because both historical and current emissions have conspired to compromise the existence of our most valuable resources”. “Hence, we cannot win the fight against climate change unless developed countries take the plunge and raise the ambition bar in delivering on bold mitigation commitments” Denton pleaded. 

She assured the international community that “Africa is not sitting idly by waiting for blueprints. Our conviction is that we can turn the strong currents of underdevelopment into wealth creation through our hard work, resilience and “inclusive” growth”.  

She said that Africa has all the ingredients that will give greater hope to her children, as “we walk with them in choosing viable pathways that are signposted to sustainable development”. 

The opening session of CCDA-IV was also addressed by the Moroccan Minister Delegate for Energy, Mining, Water and Environment, Mrs. HarimaEl Haite , the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Dr. Abdalla Hamdok; the Resident Representative of AfDB to the Kingdom of Morocco, Ms Yacine Fal, as well as a representative of the African Union Commission. 

The Fourth Annual Conference on Climate Change (CCDA-IV) is organized by the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) programme which is jointly implemented by the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank.  The programme was entrusted with a mandate by the African Heads of States and Governments to improve climate information services in support of African development agenda.

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