JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (PAMACC News) - The Global Stocktake (GST) is a critical turning point for efforts to address climate change, African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) Chair, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima has told the Pan-African Parliamentarians Summit on Climate Policy and Equity.
Speaking when he addressed Parliamentarians and other stakeholders, gathered in Midrand, South Africa from 16th to 17th May, 2023, Shitima said the GST is key to the objectives of the Paris Agreement, which aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.
Shitima reiterated AGN’s call against inherent bias in favour of mitigation at the expense of adaptation, and called on African Parliamentarians to take keen interest in the GST process and its outcome as it enables countries and other stakeholders to assess their collectiveprogress towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“As Africa, we expect the GST to be comprehensive by assessing collective progress towards all the goals and not focusing on one or two,” said Shitima. “The outcome must be corrective—how to address the identified gaps and ensure implementation. The inherent bias in favour of mitigation ought to be rectified while the needs of adaptation and recognition of adaptation actions as part of the contribution of Parties towards the global effort should be accorded sufficient attention.”
The global stocktake, as enshrined in Article 14 of the Paris Agreement (GST), is a process for taking stock of the implementation of the Paris Agreement with the aim to assess the world’s collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the agreement and its long-term goals.
The first stocktake got underway at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November, 2021 and is expected to conclude at COP28. Each stocktake is a two-year process that happens every five years.
In addition to his call for African Parliamentarians to actively get involved in the GST process, AGN Chair also highlighted the climate financing and adaptation gaps as revealed by various reports including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).
“According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP’s) Adaptation Gap Report 2022: Too Little, Too Slow – Climate adaptation failure puts world at risk finds that the world must urgently increase efforts to adapt to impacts of climate change. Implementation of adaptation actions are concentrated in agriculture, water, ecosystems- with health and education still remaining underfunded. However, without a step change in support, adaptation actions could be outstripped by accelerating climate risks, which would further widen the adaptation implementation gap.”
Shitima further lamented the poor provision of climate information in Africa, which is hindered by limited availability of weather and climate data, adding that existing weather infrastructure is insufficient for development of reliable climate information and early warning systems.
“For example, only 10% of ground-based observation networks are in Africa (the remaining 90% are outside Africa), and that 54% of Africa’s surface weather stations cannot capture data accurately,” he said.
Without belabouring the point, adaptation finance is inadequate to meet growing needs of African countries as access to adequate financial resources is crucial for climate change adaptation.
“UNEP estimates adaptation costs for Africa to be, from USD 20–50 billion per year by 2050 at 1.5℃ to USD 100–437 billion per year at 4℃ of global warming above pre-industrial levels. However, adaptation finance flows to developing countries are 5-10 times below estimated needs and the gap is widening,” lamented the AGN Chair.
Meanwhile, in his welcoming remarks, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Executive Director, MithikaMwenda, said the African continent was already living in a critical moment as a result of climate change.
“The Sixth synthesis report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on 23rd March this year confirmed human-induced global warming is already causing widespread and irreversible impacts on our natural and human systems, and these impacts will only worsen with further warning," said Mwenda.