TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Oct13/11)
28 October 2013
Third World Network  

African Ministers agree on key messages for Warsaw climate meeting

Geneva, 28 Oct (Meena Raman) – The Ministers of Environment of Africa met in Gaborone, Botswana, from 17 and 18 October 2013, at the 5th special session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) and agreed on key messages for the UNFCCC climate change talks to be held in Warsaw, Poland, next month from 11 to 22 November 2013.

The key messages were contained in a decision document issued at the conclusion of the AMCEN meeting. The ministers reaffirmed the mandate of the African group of negotiators to periodically update the African common position based on the guidance encompassed in the key messages document.

The ministers acknowledged “that there is an urgent and immediate need to avoid further loss and damage to Africa” and called “for immediate action, in particular by Annex I Parties, to reduce their emissions …in a way that will limit the global average temperature increase to well below 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

They noted with concern “that emissions from Annex I Parties increased by approximately 8 per cent between 1990 and 2008.” They also expressed concern that “the inadequate mitigation pledges, notably by Annex I Parties… risk an increase in global average temperature of greater than 2 degrees Celsius – and possibly as much as 4.8 degrees Celsius – threatening catastrophic impacts worldwide, and particularly for Africa owing to its high vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and low adaptive capacity.”

The ministers were “aware that the mitigation pledges for 2020 by Annex I Parties in the context of the climate change negotiations amount to less than the voluntary mitigation pledges by non-Annex I Parties.” They recalled that “the Convention requires Annex I Parties to make ‘equitable and appropriate’ contributions to achieving the objective of the Convention” and stressed that “Annex I Parties must show leadership, including by raising their level of ambition to the scale required by science and equity.”

They reaffirmed “that Africa’s share of global emissions will need to grow to meet its sustainable development needs and assert the right of non-Annex I Parties, in particular in Africa, to an equitable share of atmospheric space and resources taking into account the cumulative historical responsibility and the use of such resources by Annex I Parties and the fact that cumulative emissions in Africa remain extremely low.”

They also reaffirmed “that adaptation is an essential priority and necessity for Africa and that there is an urgent need for immediate and adequate support for the implementation of adaptation plans and actions through the provision of grant-based public resources.”

The ministers recognized “the importance of agriculture to Africa”, and urged “that the issue of agriculture be addressed as an adaptation measure. This will address issues relating to food security, poverty eradication, socio-economic development, environment and livelihood sustainability through adaptation to the impacts of climate change.”

Implementing the Kyoto Protocol
The ministers called upon “developed country parties to the Kyoto Protocol (KP) to fulfil their promises made in Doha to review their quantified emission limitation reduction objectives by April 2014.”  Furthermore, they also called “for increased efforts to raise the ambition of the comparable pledges in the same timeframe by Annex I Parties that are not participating in the second commitment period of the KP”.

They noted with concern “that the price of carbon continues to decrease below $1 a tonne, as a result of which there is no incentive for companies and governments to invest in low-carbon projects.” They emphasized “the necessity of exploring options and ways to strengthen the carbon price through, inter alia, the establishment of carbon price floors and other initiatives with the additional objective of providing enhanced resources to the Adaptation Fund and enhancing geographical distribution of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in Africa.” 

They affirmed that “adaptation activities should be funded at full cost through direct and simplified access to adequate, new and additional public grant-based financial resources, following a country-driven approach, as well as to environmentally sound technologies and capacity-building in a predictable and prompt manner …”

They urged the UNFCCC Adaptation Committee “to adapt the technical guidelines for formulating national action plans in countries that are not least developed countries” and to “expedite its work on facilitating the support process and implementation of national adaptation actions and plans of non-Annex I Parties through the relevant linkages between the finance and technology mechanisms of the Convention.”

Loss and damage
The ministers urged that “an international mechanism should be established to address loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change from extreme and slow-onset events. The mechanism should complement existing institutions within the UNFCCC, as well as external institutions, with a view to strengthening coherence, coordination, synergies, linkages and cooperation on loss and damage to the adverse effects of climate change, both within and external to the Convention”.

They called on the Conference of the Parties (COP) “to provide technical and financial support to ensure the efficient development and operationalization of approaches, at all levels, to address loss and damage from extreme weather events and slow-onset events, including approaches for rehabilitation.”

Framework on various approaches
They also urged Parties “to further increase the understanding of the scope and purpose of the framework, new market mechanisms and non-market approaches.” They emphasised “that any new market mechanism should complement the ambition in terms of mitigation objectives of developed country Parties at domestic level, while ensuring environmental integrity and real and permanent emissions reductions.”

They also called “for the provision of public finance for non-market approaches and consideration of ecosystem services as an important instrument for achieving sustainable development considering the importance of non-market approaches for African countries and the different circumstances of social and economic development on the continent.”

Means of implementation
The ministers stressed that “the goals related to means of implementation should relate to the amount of action needed to achieve the temperature goal of well below 2 degrees Celsius, thus the $100 billion annually by 2020 should be considered as the minimum level of support to be provided by Annex II countries.”

They emphasized “that the predictability, sustainability and adequacy of support provided, and country ownership, have to be operationalized through the following: (a) a process for needs assessment that builds on existing criteria and data …;
(b) a clear road map with milestones on the building up of finance reaching $100 billion annually in 2020 with clarification on sources, criteria for disbursement and clear reporting provisions;
(c) Clarification on how finance will ensure the country ownership and country drivenness;
(d) Sufficient and adequate initial and early capitalization of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in line with the expectations reflected in the decisions;
(e) Adaptation finance and reliable, predictable sources for the Adaptation Fund (AF), the Special Climate Change Fund, the Least Developed Countries Fund;
(f) Criteria to allow for fair share of access to the means of implementation between developing countries, this should include needs/ geographic balance;
(g) Specific criteria should be applied to allow for a clear burden-sharing mechanism to identify the shares of the developed countries in providing means of implementation thus allowing for transparency, predictability and responsibility;
(h) The $100 billion dollars annually is not the goal; the goal is adequate means of implementation for achieving the goal (of less than 2/1.5 degrees Celsius). “

They also emphasized “the need to tackle the issues of predictability, sustainability, clarity of sources and scale of finance especially for the GCF and the AF…”

Adaptation finance
They affirmed “the findings of Africa’s Adaptation Gap Technical Report” (by the United Nations Environment Programme), “the results of which show that in a below 2 degrees Celsius warming pathway, adaptation costs in Africa in the mid-term to long term are estimated at $35 billion per year by the 2040s and $200 billion per year by the 2070s for Africa, and in a beyond 3.5–4°C warming pathway, adaptation costs for Africa are estimated at $45–50 billion per year by the 2040s and $350 billion per year by the 2070s, should be used as the basis to provide financial support for the implementation of country-driven adaptation measures and actions.”

They urged developed country Parties “to significantly scale up the pre-2020 adaptation financing to at least $15 billion annually from 2013 and gradually scale it up to at least $50 billion annually by 2020, noting that the primary source of finance shall be from government budgets supplemented by other innovative sources of funding and shall be measurable, reportable and verifiable.”

They stressed “that adaptation finance shall be provided to all developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. The allocation shall be undertaken through criteria based on country capacity, urgent and immediate needs and geographical representation.”

Long-term finance
The Ministers also stressed “that the objective of long-term financing is to address the needs of developing countries in the context of the agreed global goal of 2 degrees Celsius to be reviewed in 2013–2015 for further strengthening at 1.5° Celsius.”

They invited the “COP at its nineteenth session (COP19) to launch a process to determine the needs, scale and sources of climate finance based on a set of agreed principles, particularly in the light of the objective of the GCF outlined in the Governing Instrument.”

Green Climate Fund
They urged “developed countries to accelerate the operationalization of the Fund for initial capitalization by no later than September 2014 with adequate funding and agreement on a formal replenishment process for subsequent rounds.”

They also called on “the GCF Board to ensure that Africa receives a fair allocation of resources based on its urgent needs and vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and through simplified and expeditious access.”

They expressed concern “about the lack of clarity on long-term financing of results-based REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation –plus) activities in phase three.”  They called “for a transparent process for the provision of adequate and equitable long-term financial resources” and “for the establishment of a simplified structure that would allow broader participation of countries in accordance with their national circumstances.”

Technology transfer
The ministers stressed “the urgent need to address the issue of technology transfer, including the identification and removal of all barriers preventing access to climate-related technologies and the appropriate treatment of intellectual property rights, including the removal of patents on climate-related technologies for non-Annex I Parties.”

They also expressed concern “at the inadequacy of the institutional arrangements established so far in relation to capacity-building” and stressed that “capacity development is a key issue for Africa to implement both mitigation and adaptation measures. The mandate of the Durban Forum on Capacity-Building should be extended in order to explore ways of enhancing the implementation of capacity-building initiatives.”

Durban Platform for Enhanced Action
The ministers called upon developed countries “to show increased commitment to closing the ambition gap under the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform (ADP) on workstream II (on the pre-2020 ambition) through the following:
(a) Enhanced 2020 mitigation commitments under the KP and Convention;
(b) Enhanced finance and technology transfers for mitigation and adaptation 2013–2020;
(c) Specific means of implementation for the current pipeline of CDM projects that amounts to a reduction of 6.2 Gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions;
(d) Balanced progress on all issues between the ADP and other bodies under the Convention.

They welcomed the United Nations Secretary-General’s call for a leaders’ summit to be held in 2014 and call for the following:
“(a) Annex I Parties to come forward with enhanced mitigation commitments under the KP and the Convention;
(b) Annex II and other developed country Parties to commit to enhanced finance and technology transfers for 2014–2015, including GCF capitalization and a finance pathway to 2020;
(c) Non-Annex I Parties to come forward with nationally and regionally appropriate mitigation actions, to be supported and enabled by finance and technology.”

The ministers stressed that the negotiations of a future legal outcome under the Durban Platform “are under the Convention. The Convention’s annexes and all its principles and provisions, including the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, shall apply.”

They emphasized that “the outcome must be a legally-binding agreement, that reinforces a fair, multilateral and rules-based regime based on science; that brings into effect the right to equitable access to sustainable development, the sharing of atmospheric space and resources, taking into account cumulative historical responsibility and the use of such by Annex I Parties, with the principle of equity reflected in all aspects of the future agreement.”

They also stressed that “the 2015 agreement must give equal priority to both adaptation and mitigation.” They added that the “2015 agreement should enshrine a commitment to adaptation support that is commensurate with the dynamic relationship between the temperature goal and mitigation ambition.”