Emmanuel Okella
Doha Dec, 2012

Observers say Africa risks losing its essential bargains at the ongoing United National Climate Change negotiations in Qatar, if African delegates at the conference don’t play an enhanced role on a number of issues that are still hanging and need to be resolved at least by the end of the two week gathering.

“We know there are a million demands we are making, but we need to quickly reach consensus on the continent’s key ones and start collectively pushing for those right way” said Jacqueline Amongin, an observer for the Pan African Parliament at the talks.

Of immediate concern to Africa is securing a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol and ensuring that amendments to the protocol are adopted before the end of 2012.
“There seems agreement on the extension but we need it signed will out interests there in” she added.

Members of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change holding a press conference in Doha. By Fredrick Mugira
Members of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change holding a press conference in Doha. By Fredrick Mugira

The Durban Conference last year reached resolution that a second commitment period to the Protocol, which could be for a period of either five or seven years, runs from January 1, 2013.

The aim of the second commitment period is to ensure that collective emissions of greenhouse gases by developed countries are reduced by at least 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

The second commitment period is critical to Africa’s interests because it commits the world’s biggest polluters to long-term temperature goals, thereby ensuring that the global temperature rise does not further expose Africa to undesirable threats.

Any gap between the first and second commitment periods would clearly signal danger for the continent in terms of mitigation and adaptation initiatives.

“Africa has many projects hinging on this protocol and not fully committing developed countries on it would mean danger for African mitigation measures such as on agriculture and energy” Amongin told a meeting of African negotiation group here in Doha.

The observers say, another outstanding issue is the Green Climate Fund which Africa wants to see sufficiently funded. The fund was decided in Cancun in 2010 and got established at last year’s Conference of Parties in Durban-South Africa.

“We need to see this money coming. Clinton made a promise of 100 billion dollars a year in 2009, but are we witnessing it. These are key areas that we need to bench on” commented Dr. Boniface Watara from Benin.

It aims to provide support to developing countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The developed countries have agreed to mobilize $100 billion per annum to the fund by 2020.

The fund still remains largely empty and is yet to begin meeting either mitigation or adaptation requirements. Representatives of Africa and LDCs at Doha are pushing for common position to see that financial sack swelling.

Chair of the African negotiation team Emmanuel Dlamini says he is hopeful that something tangible will come out of Doha. “It’s important that we stay focused, united and positive, even in tough situations such as at these tedious negotiations. It’s a tough terrain but am confident we shall pull off something” he said.

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