Africa’s call for transparency in climate finance receives boost

10/12/2015
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As negotiations at the ongoing Paris climate conference (COP21) entered the ninth day, the African Ministerial Council on Environment (AMCEN) has expressed its support for the push by the African Group of Negotiators for greater transparency in climate financing on the continent.

Highlighting some key emerging issues as outlined by the AGN in their meeting with African Environment Ministers at the Africa Pavilion, on Sunday, December 6, Zambia’s focal point at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Richard Lungu concurred that greater transparency in the new agreement will be a crucial component in moving forward.

Lungu said the need for increased transparency becomes more urgent in the light of the October 2015 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) highlighting the mobilization of US $62 billion out of the $100 billion dollars pledge towards climate financing.

“Earlier in October, the OECD released a report that they had mobilised $62 billion out of the $100 billion that was pledged in Cancun to be mobilized by 2020. But we, as Africa, we are asking where is the money because we have not seen the money,” he said.

This position sits well with the message of Africa at COP21. President Akinwumi Adesina of the African Development Bank (AfDB), summed it up perfectly when he said, “Africa has already been short-changed by climate change. Now, we must ensure that Africa is not short-changed with climate finance.”

With the Bank’s commitment to support Africa’s renewable energy drive, pledging US $12 billion for Africa’s renewable energy in the next five years, the continent is in a pole position to demand a fair deal.

AfDB Vice-President, Sector Operations, Aly Abou-Sabaa reiterated this point at the AMCEN meeting saying, “I wish to emphasize that a COP21 agreement that does not meet Africa’s demands cannot be said to be a successful one.”

With key political and cross-cutting issues being adaptation, ambition, differentiation and flexibility for Africa and finance, the AGN has asked the African Ministers to be bold in their high-level engagement without compromising the historic perspective of the negotiations.

Fatima Denton of the African Climate Policy Centre at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) agreed: “As we continue making history here in Paris, history will remember also if Africa does not ask for what it wants.”

Denton believes Africa is already contributing to a safer world through its “default de-carbonized” economic pathway. “If Africa and its people were to intensify fossil fuel use, the consequences would be grave,” she said.

For a continent that emits not more than 4% of global emissions, the ambitious renewable energy initiative announced by the AfDB is a serious commitment and must be supported, said United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

“I am encouraged by the strong contribution Africa is making, against this challenging backdrop, to shift the narrative on climate action from burden-sharing to opportunity-sharing. Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of joining Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President François Hollande and other leaders to launch the African Adaptation Initiative and the African Renewable Energy Initiative,” said the UN Secretary General, adding that the two initiatives clearly demonstrate Africa’s leadership by example.