bulletin of the AFRICA PROGRESS PANELVolume 4, Issue 19 — 2 December 2011
Africa Progress Panel
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This month, a turning point was reached in international development cooperation with the adoption of the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation. Ministers from across the globe, parliamentarians, government representatives, donor countries, civil society organizations and private sector representatives pledged to establish a ‘new inclusive and representative global partnership for effective development co-operation’. This sounds great but the five principles established from the Rome, Paris and Accra Forums must be now applied to transform aid relationships into true vehicles for development.
Another potential turning point will be the UNFCCC Conference of Parties taking place in Durban, which faces the challenge of building on the well-received COP-16 conference, in Cancun. Expectations are low as we witness a deep divide on the key issues to advance global efforts on mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer, capacity building and finance. It looks unlikely that a legally binding international framework will be agreed anytime soon, especially in these times of financial insecurity, increasing social tensions, growing job crisis and the risk of renewed recession – all of which are distracting the attention of political leaders away from the threats that climate change poses.
Though climate change affects everyone, science warns that it will be particularly devastating for Africa. It is the poorest and most vulnerable, those least responsible for climate change, who will pay the highest price. In fact, relatively minor changes in the climate are having a devastating impact on a continent where many depend on farming for their survival.
The apparent lack of genuine leadership and a lack of willingness to find operational solutions at an international level are therefore deeply worrying. As Kofi Annan clearly states, “The lack of long-term collective vision and leadership we have seen over climate change is inexcusable. We cannot afford to continue dragging our feet.”According to him, the Durban conference stands as, ‘a crucial test for leaders to look beyond national and short term interests.’ Rich countries, responsible for a disproportionate share of historic greenhouse gas emissions, must not lose focus at this public discourse and must take the lead to set a clear path towards curbing emissions.
Seeing climate change differently – as a unique opportunity to transform Africa’s development path using new and innovative green technologies – would be a true turning point for Durban. For this reason, we call on developed countries to confirm their commitment to the Green Climate Fund, and allocate a substantial share of the adaptation funding towards climate resilient agriculture in Africa. Furthermore, we support fair levies on aviation, a fair global bunker fuel tax, and a small financial transaction levy all of which should contribute towards the Green Climate Fund.
It is clear that African governments need to focus on improving governance and use of domestic resources, but this must not deflect from the core truth that the international community needs to deliver transparently on the promises relating to development and climate finance for Africa.
- Nobel peace prize winner, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been re-elected President of Liberia by an overwhelming margin with 90.8 percent. Winston Tubman alleges that the initial election had been rigged in favor of the incumbent but, analysts say Mrs. Johnson Sirleaf’s opponent had been expected to lose, boycott or not. Her victory has been rendered hollow and her government may struggle to prove its legitimacy because the opposition boycotted the poll.
- Egypt is witnessing a second wave of the revolution eight months after the removal of Hosni Mubarak. Egyptian protestors have returned to Tahrir Square requesting that the ruling military council step down.
- Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has won re-election in a poll that is expected to give him a fourth term since he took office in 1994. Despite satisfaction from AU observers over recent elections in the Gambia, doubts arise over the legitimacy of the process following condemnation by ECOWAS.
- The United Nations and its refugee agency warn that millions of displaced Somalis face starvation after the Al-Shabaab militants expelled 16 humanitarian agencies from operating in areas under its control, accusing them of “illicit activities and misconduct”. The civil society sources say if the ban stands, “it could make the humanitarian situation in the country go from bad to worse.”
- The interim Prime Minister of Libya appoints a new transitional cabinet as a first step to form an elected government expected to draft a constitution and conduct elections by next June. The International Criminal Court agrees to let Libya try Gaddafi’s son rather than The Hague as long as the trial complies with ICC standards –pointing out that Libya will ensure a fair trial to show the world that it is no longer a ‘tinpot dictatorship.’
- Two weeks before legislative elections, Côte d’Ivoire’s former leader, Laurent Gbagbo has been handed over to the International Criminal Court for trial over post-election violence that claimed thousands of lives. He will be the first former head of state to be tried by the ICC since it was set up in 2002. Analysts say Mr Gbagbo's transfer to The Hague will be welcomed by some, but it could also re-open the wounds in a country still traumatized by conflict.
- Unrest and tension linked to the recently concluded presidential and legislative elections in DRC creates a dangerous community for its citizens. This is Congo's second election since 1997, and analysts consider it the nation's true test of democracy and some activists say only political change will bring peace to this region.
- AfDB pledges $498m to finance renewable energy projects in Morocco
- AfDB experts stress the severity of the impact of climate change on water resources in Africa and the importance of putting water at the center of climate negotiations in Durban
- The AfDB will receive a $20m contribution from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation for increased access to water and sanitation in rural Africa
- The AU calls for a set of diplomatic measures and political initiatives to help avert a resumption of full-scale fighting in Sudan's western Darfur region
- AU Commission launches an initiative against trafficking of persons
- In a communiqué of the 13th Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State, EAC reaffirms support to Kenya in war against Al Shabaab
THE GLOBAL FUND
- UNFCCC launches a Fast-Start Finance online portal to enable governments, institutions and interested persons to access information on fast-start finance for responding to climate change
4 days into COP-17
- Just a few days into the United Nations climate change negotiations in Durban, deep divides on the conference’s key issues have arisen. Serious doubts about the adoption of the Green Climate Fund have cropped up, while a second period of the Kyoto- Protocol looks more and more unlikely.
- In an opinion piece published in ‘This is Africa’s special report’ on COP-17, Kofi Annan says the Durban conference is a test for leaders to look beyond national and short term interests, stating that “opportunity for progress must not be wasted.”
- Projects worth $ 1.08 billion, that will help eight developing countries reduce carbon dioxide emissions and mitigate the impact of climate change has been approved by the Climate Investment Funds
- A special Climate Train is traversing South Africa, carrying on board information about climate change and its environmental impact; and at the same time mobilizing communities and gathering their contributions for a Climate Charter and pledge to be delivered to COP17 in Durban.
- According to a poll by The Economist taken during last week’s virtual Global Energy Conference, just 15% of respondents think that any substantial deals on climate change will reached at COP-17 in Durban, South Africa. Brazil, on the other hand, is keeping the faith.
- The UNEP Bridging the Emissions Gap Report shows insufficient effort to address climate change but points out that cutting emissions by 2020 to a level that could keep a global, 21stcentury, temperature rise under 2 degrees C is technologically and economically feasible.
- The UNFCCC Transitional Committee (TC) Report for the design of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) contains draft recommendations of the TC to the Conference of the Parties at its 17th session, including a draft governing instrument for the GCF.
- FAO paper published during COP-17 highlights how food sector can tackle energy challenges to safeguard a food-secure future
- UNFCCC launches a new initiative called “Momentum for Change” at COP-17 in Durban, The aim of the initiative is to highlight projects in developing countries that help put the world on a more climate-resilient and low-carbon path while also improving peoples’ lives
Climate change is threatening to our future and that of our planet, and we must act now if we are to save tomorrow. No single country, no matter its size or power, can take on this challenge on its own. We can only succeed when we work together.
- MaiteNkoana-Mashabane, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and COP17 ministerial chairperson
- Daily Nation: Without healthy farms, Africa will starve, 29 Nov. 2011-“A wise man once said, a hungry man is an angry man. The same goes for the farmer who cannot feed herself.” Warning against this proverb becoming a reality, Bruce Campbell calls on African countries to honour their commitments to invest more in agriculture.
- Bloomberg (USA): Africa- Keep it on your radar, 24 Nov. 2011 - Margaret McMillan, an associate professor of economics at Tufts University points out that investors are showing increased interest in Africa, not just Egypt and South Africa and that the continent stands to “become an economic powerhouse, as it moves more of its resources into industry and services.”
- Pambazuka News (Pan-Africa): US & French air strikes raise human toll in Somalia, 23 Nov. 2011 - Abayomi Azikiwe argues that the Somali conflict is part of ongoing campaigns by the Pentagon and NATO to secure large sections of Africa that have strategic value to the US and Europe imperialism.
- How we made it in Africa: Socio-economic development in Africa- a new era dawning, 20 Nov. 2011 - The author argues that the people of Africa are entrenched with their own intuitive knowledge on African solutions to affect social change, stressing that it is time that the continent rids itself of western socio-economic development models.
- The Citizen: As rich world sputters, Brazil turns attention to Africa, 19 Nov. 2011 - The author writes that Brazil is launching a top-level drive to expand its economic ties with Africa, a sign of how crises in the rich world are pushing faster-growing emerging economies to trade and invest among themselves.
- The Malawi Democrat, Malawi risks becoming ‘fragile state,’ 17 Nov. 2011 - Political unrest and economic crisis are getting worse in Malawi. Diana Cammack, a research associate at ODI, argues that 'unless political, economic and legal reforms are agreed and implemented, the next two years are likely to be marked by worsening poverty, more rights abuses, widening corruption and more violence.'
- The Australian government announces it will establish an international food security centre to offer research and technical expertise to willing governments and institutions in Africa
- China vows never to change its friendship policy towards Africa
- China grants Tanzania aid packages amounting to about $95 million to help boost infrastructure in the East African country
- The EU approves €14.6m to support four East African countries to strengthen financial governance and build effective institutions
- European Commissioner for development announces new aid allocation of €91.6m to support new security and development strategies in the Sahel
- France launches a three-year plan to train local forces and provide surveillance for anti-piracy operations in Benin, Togo and Ghana
- France reaffirms willingness to help Nigeria tackle terrorism by providing technical training for security agents and sharing intelligence with the state capital
- Germany and the AU sign a €20m agreement to support the expansion of environmentally friendly geothermal power generation in East Africa
- Germany's development bank DEG with a private sector partner will contribute over 400,000 Euro to treat industrial waste water in Ghana
- South Africa and DRC sign an agreement to build a major hydroelectric power project, expected to provide electricity to more than half of the continents 900 million people
- Britain welcomes new agreement with China and others to improve the impact of aid at this week's aid forum in Korea
- In a joint statement for Busan, Development Ministers around the world are calling for a greater focus on results and transparency
- In a statement on the 4th HLF on Aid Effectiveness, USAID and AGI declare optimism about Africa, citing the fact that over the past decade, eight economies from sub-Saharan Africa have more than doubled in size
- U.S. Government partners with private Ethiopian banks to increase access to credit in agriculture and health sectors
|28 Nov-9 Dec||COP-17: Durban South Africa|
|4-8 Dec||16th International Conference on AIDS and STI in Africa: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia|
|5 Dec||Parliamentary Meeting on the occasion of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP17/CMP7): Durban, South Africa|
|5-6 Dec||Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation on “Building a Progressive Kenya,” organized by the Kofi Annan Foundation and the AU Panel of Eminent Personalities: Nairobi, Kenya|
|5-6 Dec||Brazil’s relations with West Africa on energy and renewable resources, forum organized by the Sahel and West Africa Club: Praïa, Cape Verde|
|6 Dec||OECD 9th Global Forum on International Investment: Paris, France|
|15-16 Dec||European Development Days : Warsaw, Poland|