bulletin of the AFRICA PROGRESS PANELVolume 4, Issue 20 — 16 December 2011
Africa Progress Panel
9-11 rue de Varembé
1202 Geneva, Switzerland
Tel +41 (0)22 919 7520
COPing with Climate Change?
This past week’s United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban ended in a mix of relief, disappointment, and confusion. There was much excitement when, early on Sunday morning, negotiators finally reached a deal. “Listen up!” tweeted UNFCC chief, Christiana Figueres, “We have Kyoto CP2, path toward future with legal force for all, Green Climate Fund full implementation of Cancun package! #COP17” Similarly, the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, declared the deal a “coup for Africa”, while Chris Huhne, Energy and Climate Secretary for the United Kingdom, referred to it as “a significant step forward in curbing emissions to tackle global climate change”. Just a day before, it had seemed as though a deal would never be reached and that, like COP16 in Copenhagen, negotiators would leave with nothing to show for their efforts.
However, as things have become more clear – or rather, as they have become less clear – the Durban Package has been increasingly called into question. Media reports have surfaced throughout the week of the strained conditions under which decisions were made, the ambiguity of many of the texts, and the lack of concrete plans for how the Green Climate Fund would be structured and run. Figueres cautioned that the deal is “insufficient” and that we are “still far from [our] goal”. Sarah-Jayne Clifton, Climate Justice Coordinator of Friends of the Earth International, echoing a sentiment shared by more and more people around the world, argued that “ordinary people have once again been let down by our governments. Led by the US, developed nations have reneged on their promise, weakened the rules on climate action and strengthened those that allow their corporations to profit from the climate crisis.” In addition, Oxfam declared “the deal done in Durban is not good for the future of the planet, or the poorest and most vulnerable people. Negotiatiors have sent a message to the world’s hungry: Let them eat carbon.”
So what did Africa get out of Durban? What happened to the global climate negotiations expected “to write a global business plan for the planet” with a triple bottom line: mitigation, adaptation and poverty reduction? As many people and organisations have been debating for the past several weeks – if not months and years! – we have a moral and ethical responsibility to take substantial steps to tackle climate change now. Delays will and already have resulted in greater economic and social costs.
If big emitters do nothing but postpone the moments for concrete decision-making, there is no doubt that African populations will be terribly affected, disputes over water and other resource scarcity could exacerbate conflicts, and food security and livelihoods will be further threatened. African political leaders must amplify their voices and tell their stories and, critically, they must be aligned with the aspirations of their citizens.
In general, 2011 showed us that Africa is rising in a volatile and unpredictable world. This progress must be safeguarded and nurtured. For Africa now has a real opportunity to increasingly contribute towards the global economy, transform its development path, and strengthen its social and economic landscape.
Best wishes for 2012.
- Egyptians head to the polls in the second round of elections to elect a new parliament - the first since President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February. As liberals face an uphill battle to compete with Islamist parties, the prospect of an Islamist-dominated parliament raises fears among liberals about religious freedom in a country with the Middle East’s largest Christian minority.
- The leading opposition party in the Democratic Republic of Congo rejected the official announcement of Joseph Kabila's re-election as president as "totally unacceptable" following crucial elections expected to reinforce stability in one of Africa's largest and poorest countries.
- Tunisia's Constituent Assembly has elected Moncef Marzouki, a former human rights activist and opposition leader, as the country's president after the revolution that expelled Ben Ali. Mr Marzouki calls his compatriots for a six-month political and social truce to sort out the country's deep-rooted economic problems, vowing to resign “if things don’t get better in six months”.
- Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, calls for elections next year to end a fragile coalition with the former opposition and expresses confidence that his party would win the proposed polls. PM Tsvangirai says the inclusive government remains dysfunctional and that many reforms must be implemented before new elections can be considered. These decisions have been greeted with concern by NGOs, fearing a surge in political violence.
- Member states of the International Criminal Court elected Fatou Bensouda of Gambia as its next chief prosecutor on Monday, in part to counter perceptions in Africa that it unfairly targets the continent. But not everyone is convinced that the office of the prosecutor will be substantially better off in her hands.
- Canada pulls out of Kyoto protocol, arguing that the process does not cover the US and China – the two biggest emitters – and that it cannot meet targets. But that doesn't mean it no longer is legally obligated to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases, according to Christiana Figueres. Canada’s decision on Monday was characterized as "preposterous" by China, and "disappointing" and "deeply regrettable" by Japan and Britain, respectively.
- Bridge over troubled water (photo) This video is set in a village outside Durban, and illustrates how poor communities are being affected by, and dealing with, climate change.
- New data show that the member countries of the OECD DAC allocated up to $22.9 billion, or 15% of total official development assistance (ODA), to climate change mitigation and adaptation in developing countries in 2010.
- The Government of Norway has signed a grant agreement with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to strengthen climate services in Africa.
- The International Post Corporation (IPC) announces savings of US$400m due to improved environmental management within the postal sector and by eliminating 329,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
- In 2012, the African Water Facility (AWF) expects to commit about €25 million to 22 new projects that will contribute to climate adaptation and mitigation.
- In an interview with Spiegel Online, Achim Steiner, the head of the UNEP, calls the delay "irresponsible,” saying “human kind cannot afford negotiations until 2020”.
- How to create a successful un climate summit: this article provides lessons from Durban and points out why the next global meeting must be transformed into a forum for mutual learning and not just one for haggling and meaningless legalese.
- The Earth Negotiations Bulletin provides a brief analysis of COP17 and CMP7. It summarizes the discussions, decisions and conclusions based on the agendas of the COP, CMP and the subsidiary bodies.
- The AfDB discussed progress on its energy strategy for Africa, which seeks to create better access to electricity on the continent
- The AfDB lends €28.1 million to support access to reliable energy in Kenya
- The AfDB approves a loan of $8 million to support lending programs aimed at improving education and jobs in Namibia
- Five Multilateral Development Banks, who are lending some $8.4 billion annually for climate action in cities, agree on a new partnership to combat global warming
- The ICC judges dismiss the legality of an AU resolution ordering all its member states not to cooperate with the court in apprehending the Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir
- EAC- COMESA- SADC launch a joint five-year Programme on Climate Change adaptation and mitigation, aiming to harmonize climate change programmes by the three regional blocs in addressing the impacts of climate change
- South Sudan to join the East African Community
- ECOWAS steers regional integration with effective monitoring and evaluation tool
- ECOWAS member States and Nigeria to collaborate in addressing the various air transport challenges confronting the region
- ILO and The MasterCard Foundation forge a unique partnership to promote decent work among young people facing a worsening jobs crisis
- The latest issue of IMF’s Finance & Development Magazine confirms the upbeat outlook for the African continent and, while acknowledging continued and deep-rooted poverty, spells out what Africa needs to do to further spur opportunities for growth
- IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, to visit Nigeria and Niger from 18-22 December, on her first trip to Africa since her appointment earlier this year
- UN-backed Kenyan invasion of Somalia spirals into chaos
- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon defends NATO against criticism from Russia, China and other countries, which accuse the alliance of overstepping its UN mandate to protect civilians in Libya
- The UN says it will need $7.7 billion from international donors in 2012 to cope with humanitarian emergencies affecting some 51 million people in 16 countries, chiefly Somalia, Sudan and Kenya
- A UN report says the expansion of malaria prevention and control measures have resulted in a decline of more than 25 per cent in the number of deaths caused by the disease in the past decade, and a 33 per cent reduction in mortality rates in Africa
- According to WFP, more than a million people in Zimbabwe will require food aid between now and March 2012, despite recent improvements in the country's grain production
- The World Bank approves a new mechanism that will allow the world’s poorest countries to expedite access to funding following a crisis
- The World Bank announces two new financial initiatives – the Carbon Initiative for Development (Ci-Dev) and the third tranche of the BioCarbon Fund (BioCF T3) – to help LDCs access financing for low carbon investments and enable them to tap into carbon markets after 2012
- Daily Maverick: Let’s ban fire, 13 Dec. 2011 In this article, the author criticizes the efforts made at COP17, which he describes as a "beach party", as well as the final Durban Package, which he refers to as "recycled waste paper".
- Huffington Post: Durban Wrap-up, 13 Dec. 2011 This article discusses how and why the US, China and India prevented substantial progress from being made at the Durban conference and how it would in fact be to their advantage – both economically and in terms of development – to take greater and more progressive steps towards fighting climate change.
- The Atlantic: Overstated Success at Durban Climate Conference, 12 Dec. 2011 The author juxtaposes what the media have reported about the Durban Package and what the various texts of the Package actually say. He argues that given how vague the language of the texts is, there is little cause for celebration.
- allAfrica.com: Durban’s Platform for Potential (In) Action, 11 Dec. 2011 Author argues that while some people are happy with the Durban Package and the decisions reached at COP17, many others are not. According to the author, of particular concern is the second commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, which he argues is weak, lacks ambition and leaves much room for countries to get out of their already flexible emission reduction targets in the future.
- Thought Leader: If COP17 has to do with survival, why aren’t more people interested? 8 Dec. 2011 This article questions why more people aren’t interested in and getting involved with the fight against climate change. The author suggests that many people are unaware of the adverse effects of climate change and, therefore, calls for greater education for sustainable development, especially among young, school-going children.
The outcome in Durban is a coup for Africa. Issues that had taken so long to resolve have been resolved on our soil.
- Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa
In the blogs...
- Center for International Forestry Research, Forests Blog: We must be optimistic about progress on climate change in Durban, 14 Dec. 2011- A facilitator for REDD+ negotiations writes about COP-17,and why we should remain positive about the Durban Package. It includes a video entitled ‘A day in the life of a REDD+ negotiator’.
- The World Bank’s Development in a Changing Climate: What did Durban deliver? 13 Dec. 2011 - Andrew Steer, Special Envoy for Climate Change at the World Bank, argues that the outcomes of the UN Climate Conference in Durban are highly positive for the long term prospects for a deal, and delivered all that could reasonably be hoped for.
- More than $25 million has been raised through the Australian government's Dollar for Dollar Campaign for people suffering in the Horn of Africa
- The EC approves the concept for a new Common Security and Defence Policy mission to strengthen regional maritime capacity in the Horn of Africa and Western Indian Ocean states
- France will release €230m to Libyan authorities to help them recover the rest of their frozen assets, said French Foreign Minister, Alain Juppe, on a recent visit to Tripoli
- Germany offeres to host the yet-to-be-established Green Climate Fund, pledging a contribution of €40m for climate change activities in developing countries
- South Africa welcomes the election of Fatou Bensouda of The Gambia as the new chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC)
- The Italian Cooperation earmarks €1.5 million to support an International Migration Organization (IOM) project for children in Libya
- The UK unveils a new series of ‘Fast Start projects’ – part of a global scheme designed to help poor and vulnerable countries adapt to climate change
- A Senior officer of the UK armed forces’ Sir David Richards, says the country should make military alliances in Africa rather than try to compete for influence over the emerging powers of China and India
- The UK and Libyan governments pledge to look for practical ways to work together towards a free and prosperous Libya playing a full role in the international community
|19 December 2011||United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation|
|12 January 2012||Investor Summit on Climate Risk and Energy Solutions:New York, U.S.A|
|16-19 January||World Future Energy Summit (Abu Dhabi)|
|17 January||Sustainable Foods Summit (San Francisco)|
|23-30 January||18th Ordinary Session of the Summit of the African Union: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia|
|25-29 January||World Economic Forum Annual Meeting:Davos, Switzerland|