Hon. Dr. Ashebir W. Gayo, Acting President of the Pan-African Parliament, has called on global parliamentarians to transcend narrow agendas and partisan barriers in order to jointly address the climate change crisis. He emphasised the pivotal role of parliamentarians in shaping history, safeguarding the planet's future, and protecting future generations.
Dr. Gayo delivered this message during the main Parliamentary Meeting at the 28th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), a collaborative initiative between the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the UAE's Federal National Council.
Highlighting the urgency of the situation, the acting leader of the Pan-African Parliament stressed the immense significance of the present moment. He expressed the looming threat of climate change, underscoring its potential to impact our existence profoundly. Additionally, he noted that African parliamentarians are witnessing firsthand the challenges presented by climate change, particularly in light of the IPCC's findings that Africa is experiencing accelerated warming, with the potential to severely affect African economies and societies.
Hon. Dr. Gayo further emphasised the critical and unfair burden that African nations are shouldering due to climate change. He underscored the urgency of translating commitments into tangible actions to avert potential disasters on the continent. The Continental Parliament’s Acting President rightly pointed out the interconnected nature of food insecurity, migration, conflicts, and poverty, all of which are exacerbated by climate change. He highlighted the impact of climate change on food systems, leading to increased hunger and malnutrition.
Moreover, Hon. Dr. Gayo emphasised the need to seize the challenges presented by climate change as an opportunity to rethink and redesign agricultural systems, health practices, and economic approaches.
“By embracing sustainable and resilient methods, there is an optimistic outlook on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving soil health, and enhancing water management. He underlined the potential of innovation and cooperation in developing and sharing solutions that benefit both stakeholders and the environment,” he said.
The Pan-African Parliament's proactive stance on these issues is evident in their organization of the 3rd Parliamentarians Summit on Climate Policy and Equity. This gathering served as a vital platform for dialogue, collaboration, and proactive measures involving parliamentarians, governments, civil society, and various stakeholders. These tangible actions demonstrate the Pan-African Parliament's commitment to addressing the pressing challenges arising from climate change.
“By empowering parliaments and parliamentarians with enhanced capabilities, the Pan-African Parliament strives to ensure effective implementation of the commitments made by respective countries. This approach highlights the pivotal role of legislative bodies in overseeing and ensuring the realization of climate-related commitments.”
Hon. Dr. Gayo reiterated the emphasis on bolstering climate change adaptation, fortifying resilience, and integrating these critical focal points into Africa's economic orientation.
He added: “African Parliamentarians in their Parliamentary dialogue, co-hosted by the Pan-African Parliament, on the sidelines of the African Climate Summit in Kenya, committed to prioritising climate change adaptation in their engagement with the global and regional processes and dialogues to address the climate crisis.”
The Parliamentary gathering on the margins of COP28 convenes global parliaments to facilitate knowledge sharing, international cooperation, and the exchange of best practices for climate action. The event aims to create an inclusive platform for parliamentary dialogue, elevating parliamentary voices, and supporting urgent climate efforts both nationally and internationally.