ERRATUM: Implementation of INDCs another red line Africa will not cross in COP 21 negotiations, according to AMCEN Chair

By African Union Commission (AUC)

The joint Pan African lead institutions brought together African ministers; representatives of their leaders and policymakers to plan the way forward under a new climate change agreement in Paris while upholding Africa's priorities through regional solidarity on the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) during the 2015 United National Conference on Climate Change in Paris (COP21) Africa Day event today.

The three Pan-African institutions, including the African Union Commission (AUC); the African Development Bank (AfDB); the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) brought together hundreds of African policy makers and experts attending COP 21 to enlighten them on Africa's proposed amendments to the draft Paris Agreement (especially Articles on the INDCs) now making its way through the negotiation process.

The Egyptian Minister of Environment, Dr. Khaled Fahmy who currently chairs the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) told the meeting that the provision of means of implementation for the INDCs is a thick red line that Africa will not cross in Paris just because “we want an agreement at all cost.”

He said that the other red lines concerned the necessity to have an agreement with a real balance between adaptation and mitigation; while the other is on the legally binding aspect of the expected agreement.

“We are not in Paris to re-write the Convention but to ensure its judicious implementation”, he said, charging that “all African countries having drawn up their different INDCs in accordance with the Peru outcome, the time now is for implementation; and for all to abide by it.

All parties to the COP21 including African countries are expected to express their INDCs–public declarations of post-2020 climate actions they intend to take under a new international agreement to help global mitigation ambitions, as well as adaptation goals within the context of their national priorities, circumstances and capabilities. With INDC submissions to date, global warming is expected to be maintained at 2.7 degrees Celsius, which is above the global ambition of 2 degrees Celsius increase. So far, out of the fifty-four African nations, fifty-three have submitted INDCs.

The day began with an opening session chaired by the Ethiopian Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace in her opening statement, stressed that the Africa Day is not about lamenting the risks and challenges posed by climate change, but instead to serve as an opportunity for the continent to showcase to the rest of the world solutions underway to mitigate these challenges, specifically through the development of INDCs.

“The Paris Climate COP is the pinnacle of the global climate change negotiations that has historic milestone from the Africa COP in Durban COP17”. It proofs the level of commitment by the global community in addressing the adverse impacts of climate change and reduction of the greenhouse gases”, she said.

Mr. Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the UNECA, said that it is important, therefore, that Africa's Parties submission on INDCs lead to the conclusion of a new agreement under the Convention that is in full conformity with its principles and provisions, in particular those of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

“In addition, Annex I Parties need to make “equitable and appropriate” mitigation contributions towards achieving the objective of the Convention taking into account their cumulative historical responsibility and use of atmospheric space and resources and that cumulative emissions in Africa remain extremely low”, Mr. Lopes concluded.

The contributions forthcoming from developed country Parties relating to mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and capacity are in a balanced manner in the context of a global and comprehensive agreement for the period beyond 2020.

AfDB representative, Anthony Okon Nyong, speaking on behalf of Mr. Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB President noted that “the vision of the African Heads of State and Government to embrace green growth and low carbon development for Africa's transformation outlined today are meant to propel us into a future which promotes sustainable development for generations to come.”

“Africa has come with solutions on renewable energy; adaptation and loss and damage”, he said.

There were two technical presentations on INDCs by the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change and the UNECA. A Ministerial dialogue followed on INDCs showcasing Africa's readiness in addressing climate change, including its ability to deliver on its own potential with international cooperation in addition to the contribution of INDCs to the overall development of the continent. The ministerial dialogue was chaired by H.E Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra, Foreign Minister of Algeria; and vote of thanks was given by H.E Dr. Elham Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure & Energy, AUC while Ms. Olushola of the AUC served as a Master of Ceremony.

Over 500 participants attended Africa Day, which saw the participation of high level delegates from the governments of Algeria; Cameron, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda, in addition to the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change, African Union Commission, African Ministerial Conference on Environment, Pan-African Parliament, African Development Bank, East African Community, European Investment Bank, Green Climate Fund, International Labor Organization, NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, United Nations Development Program, and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

Throughout the day, leaders discussed the region's priorities with respect to climate change, while considering the status of INDCs development in Africa and their challenges and opportunities moving forward in implementation.