Strong institutions needed to help Africa navigate climate change, says Ambassador Di-Aping

Addis Ababa, 22 March 2018 (ECA) – Africa needs stronger climate institutions if the continent is to successfully combat climate change, says former Group of 77 and China Chairman, Ambassador Lumumba Di-Aping of South Sudan.

In a keynote presentation to experts attending the second African Climate talks in Addis Ababa, Ambassador Di-Aping said; “We must recognize that without strong measures, the strong action required to combat climate change will not be taken, with Africa bearing the losses and damage”.

He said the continent needs to establish the position of a Commissioner for Climate Change at the African Union Commission with the critical mission of addressing the existential threat of climate change. 

“We do not have an AU Commissioner for Climate Change.  This is clearly an omission given that almost every other aspect of the AU’s mission is dependent on stabilizing the climate within which Africa exists,” the Ambassador said, adding that building the knowledge and infrastructure within the AU system to support effective action on climate change and ‘to support our political processes including Heads of State (CAHOSCC), Ministers (AMCEN) and our technical negotiators’ was crucial.

“It is notable that there is no permanent secretariat supporting the African Group, and that we shamefully remain reliant on foreign donors for much of the support to our technical experts,” he added to applause from experts gathered to discuss climate change impacts on development in Africa, the continent’s position on climate agreements such as the 2015 Paris Agreement and related topics.

Some of the key issues being discussed in the talks include the causes and solutions to the climate crisis with participants asking if the Paris Accord is an adequate framework to address the climate crisis.

Climate change impacts on development in Africa is also being discussed with participants agreeing on the need for a more effective framework from 2025 onwards, one that is consistent with Africa’s survival and prosperity:

“We must recognize that the current Paris architecture is fundamentally flawed, inadequate and will remain and serves as the new and main basis for multilateral cooperation during the first period of commitments -2020- 2025-2030,” said Ambassador Di-Aping.

“The African continent in this new architecture is tragically weaker than even before. And having cheered, applauded and celebrated this new 4 degree Celsius catastrophe it is stuck in a rut. The only way forward is reinventing it in a way consistent with science and Africa’s survival and in solidarity with the global south, global poor and the progressive democratic centre and metropolis.”


Africa, he said, must recognize that it faces an existential crisis that it cannot solve alone.

“Our survival is at stake. We must convince or find ways to pressure or coerce other countries into doing their fair share,” the Ambassador said.

He continued: “We need stronger science from an African perspective. We must not simply follow science put together by other countries, or funded by them through multilateral institutions.  We need an African Climate Science Working Group – an African IPCC led by and for Africans.”

He said Africa must find ways to exert greater pressure on all countries to achieve the 1.5 and 2 degree Celsius goals. 

“If these goals are necessary preconditions for our well-being, we must ask whether each country who wishes to trade or invest in Africa is doing its fair share of the climate task,” said Ambassador Di-Aping, adding Africa also needs to strengthen South-South Cooperation on climate change.

He said Africa’s efforts to combat climate change and develop the continent must be based on self-empowerment and self-reform.

The meeting was organized by the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Center for Environmental Science of the University of Addis Ababa.


Issued by:

Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826