Africans are experiencing some of the worst weather events in a decade this year, despite the continent contributing the least to global carbon emissions at less than 4 percent. The impact of climate change affects all development outcomes and exacerbates the continent's chronic poverty and suffering.
The 27th annual Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change - better known as COP27 - is being held in the resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt until 18 November 2022. COP27 commonly referred to as “the African COP,” allows Africa to spotlight its special needs, circumstances and opportunities.
The fifth U.N. climate summit to be held on African soil is expected to deliver action on an array of issues critical to tackling the climate emergency – from urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building resilience and adapting to the inevitable impacts of climate change, to delivering on the commitments to finance climate action in developing countries. In fact, with the continent suffering disproportionately from climate change, calls for more funds are mounting.
In this regard, African parliamentarians have become central to the response to climate change for their ability to represent and amplify citizens’ concerns and priorities. The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) is taking part in the global climate event in Sharm el-Sheikh to ensure that the continent's interests as well as the aspirations of Africans, especially women and the youth, are better represented in climate negotiations.
H.E Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira, President of the PAP, says that the conference represents a unique opportunity to push for climate justice for Africa through targeted parliamentary actions, global solidarity and cooperation. He adds that COP27 should enable the continent to align climate change goals with other aims, such as improving living standards while building resilience to extreme weather.
“For COP27 to be the 'African COP', the needs, voices, and priorities of the African people need to be reflected in the outcome of the negotiations. At the same time, in order to be credible, effective and legally enforceable, these international agreements must be transposed into national legislation, supported by appropriate budgetary allocations and robust oversight of government performance. Parliamentarians are not only well placed to scrutinize how governments are responding to national and international climate change issues. But they can also hold their executives to account for their actions and or inaction thereof,” says H.E Hon. Chief Charumbira has arrived in Sharm el-Sheikh today as climate negotiations reach a crucial stage.
A delegation of the PAP, mandated by its President, has been on the ground in Sharm el-Sheikh since the opening day of COP27 on 06 November 2022. The team led by Hon. Didier Molisho Sadi, Chairperson of the PAP Permanent Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, has already taken part in numerous critical engagements alongside other African Union entities to cement the African position and the role of Parliamentarians.
As a reminder, the PAP Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment (CREANE) is responsible for considering the development of common continental and regional policies in the economics, agriculture, natural resources and environment; as well as promoting the development of policies and the implementation of programs of the African Union relating to the thematic areas which include climate change.
Among other activities conducted so far, there has been a meeting with the Chair of the African Group of Negotiators (AGN); participation in the African Union’s side event on “Implementation of Climate Actions and Africa’s Responses for a Just and Sustainable Transition”; roundtable discussion on the Global Afro Descendant Climate Justice Collaborative; the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) meeting on COP27; and the launch of the Africa Green Climate Finance National Designated Authorities Network (AFDAN). This is in addition to several bilateral meetings held so far with ministers, and negotiators, along with climate activists, mayors, civil society representatives and CEOs.
Furthermore, the PAP is also expected to hold a dedicated high-level panel discussion on “Building Just and Fair Climate Resilience in Africa through Parliamentary Actions.”
The Paris Agreement – adopted at COP21 and signed by over 190 states– came into effect in 2016 with the aim of limiting the rise in temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Climate finance has been debated at every COP meeting since developed countries have failed to meet their promise to mobilise $100 billion annually by 2020 to help developing nations with mitigation and adaptation measures. COP27, held under the slogan ‘Together for implementation’, is described as the continent's best chance to finally obtain concrete climate action.
The President of the PAP leads a delegation comprised of 10 Parliamentarians drawn from all the PAP organs and representing the five regions of the African continent. The delegation includes Hon. Lucia Dos Passos Third Vice President of the PAP, appointed by the President to coordinate the PAP’s participation in COP27 in Egypt.