Climate Change (181)

MADRID, Spain2 (PAMACC News) – African civil society organisations are pressing for a decision at the Chile Climate Change Summit taking place in Madrid, Spain, (COP 25) that recognizes the special circumstances and needs of the continent, which is among the hardest hit and the least prepared for the adverse impacts of climate change.

Among other things, current projections show that the continent will warm 1.5 times faster than the global mean. In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) revealed in its Special Report that parts of Africa are already experiencing 2-degreewarming, higher than 1.50as previously estimated. Regions in Africa within 15 degrees of the equator are projected to experience an increase in hot nights as well as longer and more frequent heatwaves, according to the UNFCCC Secretariat.

Climate change impacts will, therefore, affect Africa more than every other region of the world, even if ambitious targets to limit global mean temperature rise at 2 or 1.5 degrees are met. This raises a justice and equity question since Africa only contributes less than 4% of global emissions and does not benefit from the resources of the energy-intensive economic development typical of rich countries.

“We cannot be treated like other regions,”says Dr Mithika Mwenda, Executive Director of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, the leading voice on climate justice in Africa. “Without substantial support, Africa will not only be unable to cope with the devastation of climate change but will be unable to contribute its share in addressing the problem.”

Demands for a special status for Africa first emerged in 2015 during COP 21 in Paris, where African ministers of environment tabled the issue for considerations unsuccessfully. Informal consultations continued until COP24in Katowice, Poland, last year.The question of a special status for Africa is finally on the COP 25 agenda.

“We believe this is a great opportunity to recognize that Africa is a special case requiring special attention to enable us collectively deal with the climate emergency,” says Augustine B. Njamnshi, chair of the political committee at PACJA. “We call on parties to take a decision recognising these special circumstances and the needs that go with them in terms of finance, emergency response and technology development. Recognising the special circumstances and hence special needs of Africa will lead to finding solutions to ensure that Africa has the support it needs to effectively implement the Paris Agreement.”  

Africa’s demand to be considered as a special case is supported by science, says Prof Seth Osafo, legal adviser of the president of the African Group of Negotiators.

“The IPCC special report [2018] identifies clearly that Africa continues to be the most vulnerable region to the impacts of climate change. Last year, the cyclone (Idai) that hit southeast Africa caused serious destructions and the affected countries (Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe) and still suffering as a result of this.

“Floods have increased in many parts of Africa and weather patterns have completely changed. We believe that Africa needs support, not only in terms of money but also technology, to deal with these issues and contribute to meeting the global target for addressing climate change.”

In a position statement, African CSOs also called on rich countries to step up climate action through enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to levels commensurate with the current estimates of the severity of the climate emergency and urgency of needed action.

The UNFCCC secretariat expects COP25 to be a “launchpad for significantly more climate ambition.” Current commitments, particularly from rich countries, fall short of the level of emission cuts required to slow global warming and avert a climate breakdown.

“The New York Climate Summit was revealing in many regards,” PACJA said in a position statement.  “It did not only show that the smaller developing countries are determined to contribute to the fight against climate change, but that they are even willing to do more (sacrificially) to make sure that climate change remains in the multilateral space and top on the agenda.

“Seventy or so countries that have indicated their willingness to enhance their ambition are mostly small or medium countries. This suggests that the big emitters have still not come to the table with their enhanced commitments.”

Other positions adopted in Madrid today include a call for robust and environmental guidelines for international cooperation and carbon markets; a review of the Warsaw international mechanism on loss and damage to have a clear means of implementation, especially for emergency response in Africa; and a demand for scaled-up finance and capacity building to meet the climate change adaptation challenge the continent faces.

Hoping to influence negotiations at multiple levels, African CSOs also asked for the adoption of common time-frames for a harmonious evaluation of NDCs and pay special attention to the gender undertones of climate action.

Press statement

It is now official: Chile will not host COP25. In a speech on Wednesday, President Sebastian Piñera blamed a fortnight of civil unrest for the 11th hour cancelation.

The fallouts that led to Chile’s withdrawal from hosting COP25 have been immediate. The UNFCCC is now in a frantic search for an alternative venue. Across the world, governments and other actors of the global climate change movement are grappling with logistical headaches. It is the first time a host has pulled the plugs on a major climate change gathering. In every sense, the organisational challenges that will beset the coming weeks will be huge, widespread and will leave long-terms consequences.

It also creates a leadership crisis. Chile plans to continue chairing COP25 despite not hosting the summit. If the UNFCCC eventually finds a new venue, as it would likely do, it would take exceptional leadership to coordinate between Chile, the new host and the UNFCCC Secretariat. Even then, COP25 would, at best, be cast in the shadow of the Chilean crisis and the consequences of its last-minute change of heart.

The cancellation of Santiago 2019 was to be expected. Chile’s ongoing political unrests are the worst in nearly two decades. Transport infrastructure has been severely damaged in Santiago and there are no signs that the security situation in the country will improve significantly to host thousands of delegates to the climate change summit. Even then, rumours of this eventuality began spreading during SB50 in Bonn, Germany last June . With little prevision, the chaos caused by the last-minute withdrawal could have been minimised.

President Piñera has demonstrated a lack of foresight in his management of the COP25 chairmanship. Only last week, he was still adamant that the country would host the climate summit, as well as the Asia Pacific Economic Forum. Yet, it now appears no plans were made to deal with a damaged transport system in Santiago and the obvious logistical and security challenges of hosting thousands of people from around the world.

This will be a huge loss for Chile. The choice of Santiago to host the COP25 seemed sensible in many ways. Until the recent unrests, Chile was one of the most stable countries in Latin America. It was a significantly better option to Brazil, which had just elected a climate change-denier and fiercely right-wing President. Chile was preferred over Costa Rica on the assumption that it had a better capacity to deal with the huge logistical challenges that come with hosting a COP. In the end, it is these assumptions that have helped expose the precarity of Chilean politics.

We believe attention should now turn to President Piñera’s handling of the ongoing crisis and its fallouts. Respecting the rights of citizens is fundamental to our collective effort to address climate change and the range of intertwined challenges that now face humanity. We can no longer have governments that cannot assure the rights of its people at the helm of global climate change negotiations. Clearly, Chile cannot manage this magnitude of an event. Not now!

As an organisation that promotes just climate action, it is our view that the United Nations should now take the opportunity to thoroughly investigate claims of human rights abuses by Chile’s security forces since the protests over fare hikes started. Right now, the country seems to be falling from the cliff on all human development indicators.

MOGADISHU, Somalia (PAMACC News) – The United Nations envoy to Somalia today voiced his concern over the flooding affecting thousands of people mainly in the southern parts of the country, and highlighted the world body’s willingness to support efforts to provide aid to those affected.

“I am saddened by the heavy toll that the floods are taking on the people of Somalia, and deeply concerned about the situation of people who have lost homes and livelihoods,” said the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan.

“I extend my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and wish a speedy recovery to all injured and affected by the flooding,” he added. “The United Nations stands ready to work with Somalia’s federal and regional authorities to support affected communities.”

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced, and casualties have been reported. Farmland, infrastructure and roads have been destroyed, and livelihoods disrupted in some of the worst-hit areas.

Heavy seasonal rains triggered floods along the Juba and Shabelle rivers in Hirshabelle, Jubaland and South West states. Flash flooding was also reported in Benadir region, Jowhar in Hirshabelle, and Ceel Cade and Jamame in Jubaland.

“I want to thank the Government of Somalia for demonstrating leadership by setting up an inter-ministerial committee to coordinate flood response with state authorities,” the UN envoy said.

“The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and its humanitarian partners are working with the authorities to quickly deliver live-saving assistance to affected people,” Mr. Swan added. “The World Food Programme is deploying a helicopter dedicated to support humanitarian response efforts in Belet Weyne and other affected locations. I’m grateful to the UN Support Office in Somalia for the temporary use of helicopters to assist in carrying out search-and-rescue operations despite pressing operational demands.”

 

BAFOUSAM, Cameroon (PAMACC News) - Heavy and persistent week long rains triggered deadly landslide on Tuesday 29 October in Bafoussam, West of Cameroon, killing over 50 persons.

Many more are believed to be still buried in the mud as search for more corpses continue, state authorities announced shortly after the sad incident.

"We can now confirm that over 50 lives have been lost in the incident and close to fifteen houses have been buried in mud," said Cameroon minister of territorial administration,Paul AtangaNji in a press briefing after visiting the site yesterday.

The minister said 80% of those killed are children between 6-15 years and women.

The landslide, which occurred at around 10.30 pm after over a week-long of heavy rains, caught the rural population in their sleep,said the governor of the West region, Away Gonna Augustine.

Major recovery efforts are ongoing in the area,government has announced.

Military and the local population say they are using shovel and local tool in their search .

"We fear using complex machines might hurt someone who could have been saved," said a military officer on the site.
Residents who survived the accident said they heard a loud noise while asleep and quickly rushed out

" I heard a loud bang and jumped out of bed only to discover part of the house has been covered with mud and two of my children trapped under. The rescue team that came in hours later managed to rescue the," said Divine Ngambou, survivor of the landslide.

The minister of territorial administration and that of urban development have issued orders for the population living on the flanks of the hilly area to evacuate.

Rains have been very heavy in most parts of Cameroon in the past few months causing flooding and destroying property,environment experts say.

"These prolonged rains are clear signs of climate change. This was not the case in the past.". said Epie Joseph head of meteorology in the ministry of environment..

Floods and landslides he said are triggered by climate abnormality.

Cameroon President Paul Biya has ordered for immediate financial assistance to be provided to the victims,while receiving treatment in the hospitals are getting it for free.

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