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COP 25: Africa pushes for special consideration in Madrid climate talks
As terrible floods inundate their country, close to 100 Kenyan delegates have convened in Madrid, Spain, along with thousands of global leaders, for the COP 25 climate conference.
Of particular concern to African delegates is the disparity between the continent’s contribution to global warming emissions and its vulnerability to climate change impacts. Collectively, the 54 African states represented at the UN climate talks account for less than 4% of global emissions, yet across the continent, every nation is feeling the effects of a changing climate.
Earlier this year, catastrophic floods from two different storms affected over 2 million people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. In late November, heavy rains triggered deadly landslides that killed more than 50 people in West Pokot in Kenya. The rains continue to cause unprecedented damage across different parts of the East African nation.
In this light, African negotiators at the COP 25 conference have called for the continent to be granted “special considerations” to allow it more resources to tackle such climate-related disasters.
Chair of the African Group of Negotiators, Ambassador Mohamed Nasr, said African countries spend at least 2% of their GDP every year to address climate change.
Nasr said the cost was already a huge burden for the continent. Many African countries are only just discovering oil and gas – which they could use to drive their economies – but may have to leave these resources in the ground following calls from the international community to reduce emissions globally.
Granting Africa special case consideration would encourage the continent to maintain the path of sustainable development, Nasr said.
Latin American and small island nations said they were also uniquely affected by climate change.
In response, African experts have emphasized that their appeal was based on scientific studies which have identified the continent’s economy as potentially the most vulnerable. Africa’s call for special status first emerged in 2015 during COP21 in Paris, where ministers tabled the issue for consideration.
Informal consultations continued until last year’s UN talks in Katowice, Poland, before finally ending up on the agenda this year in Madrid.
The African Development Bank has played a key role in developing the continent’s position in the run-up to COP 25 and is present at the conference to support its regional member countries in negotiations.
The Bank’s delegation is taking part in several panel discussions and other events, including on gender and climate change, climate finance, the role of legislators in implementing the Paris Agreement and climate adaptation.