African Ministers call for strong universal climate agreement.

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African Ministers call for strong universal climate agreement.

Ministers from governments across Africa have renewed their call for a strong, new universal climate-change agreement and increased flows of funds, including through market and finance opportunities, sufficient to fulfil Africa’s development aspirations, at the day-long Ministerial segment at Africa Carbon Forum 2015 hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco.

With countries set to approve a new climate-change agreement under the United Nation’s (UN’s) Climate Change Conference, or COP21, in Paris, in December, African Ministers stressed the region’s readiness and requirement for accelerated private and public financing of low-carbon developments. MORE INSIGHT Summit highlights need for robust energy system Summit highlights need for robust energy system Africa, with its vulnerable populations and vast potential, perhaps, had the most to lose from climate change and the most to gain from an effective climate-change agreement. “I agree with [the other] Ministers that the last ten years in the implementation of the Clean Development Mechanism is a very valuable asset and that market mechanisms can play a significant role in raising the level of ambition and supporting climate action,” said Morocco Environment Minister Hakima El Haite. “In these last eight months before Paris, focus must shift from restating negotiating positions to finding common ground solutions,” UN Framework Convention on Climate Change deputy executive secretary Richard Kinley noted.

He emphasised that all countries had something to gain from the Paris agreement and it was in everyone’s interests to reach a strong conclusion as soon as possible this year. “If heads of State come to Paris, it must be to adopt an agreement that is robust and ready for them.” CLEAN ENERGY The African Carbon Forum 2015, which ran from April 13 to 15 in Marrakech, focused on programmes to unleash private-sector finance, such as through the Clean Development Mechanism, and scale up other forms of climate finance to strengthen the sustainable development of African countries. According the International Energy Agency, over 620-million people in sub-Saharan Africa, about two-thirds of the population, were without secure access to electricity. Some 730-million people in the region, about four-fifths, still relied on cooking mostly with wood, harming health and destroying vital forest cover. “The coming months provide African countries with a significant opportunity to align their contributions to the Paris climate agreement with their own long-term sustainable development priorities,” said Kinley.

Countries were busy detailing their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which would be submitted as input to the Paris agreement. INDCs for 35 countries had been submitted to date, while on April 1, Gabon became the first African country to submit an INDC. During the closing session of the forum on April 15, African Development Bank environment and climate-change manager Kurt Lonsway explained that the seventh Africa Carbon Forum reiterated the need to have adequate, predictable, sustainable climate finance resources to address Africa’s challenges in transitioning to low carbon development, promoting smart agriculture and sustainable urban development. He added that these sectors were at the core of Africa’s development. “How these sectors are integrated into the countries’ INDCs will help determine the successful implementation of INDCs. We all know current climate financial flows are currently insufficient to meet all of Africa’s climate-change challenges, but it is also critical for African countries to demonstrate the ability to effectively deploy those resources that are available to help contribute to the global climate-change goals.”

BY: MEGAN VAN WYNGAARDT

Edited by: Tracy Hancock