Wednesday, December 6, 2023

COP 27: An African COP in Africa

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COP 27 is the 5th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC) that will be held in Africa. The last COP in Africa was held in Marrakech, Morocco, in 2016. About 50,000 attendees are billed to attend this year’s COP in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, and it is believed to be the biggest COP in terms of attendance.   

What makes this year’s COP another focal point is that Africa has been the worst hit by the effects of climate change. Africa is the least climate-resident region in the world, as it contributes only about four per cent to global emissions. Nine of the 10 countries most affected by climate change are in Africa. There is no gainsaying that Africa is bearing the largest effect of climate change. 

 In Nigeria, the story is the same. On February 24, this year, the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) gave an early warning to all stakeholders during the presentation of their Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) and Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) that we are to experience abnormal rainfall.

True to the prediction, 125 per cent above normal rainfall was experienced in August, and 60 per cent above normal across the nation in September. 

The losses are many already. According to the Nigeria Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), about 600 lives have been lost, and 1.3 million people have lost their farmlands. The economic loss is huge. 

Now, since this year’s COP is being held in Africa, it is pertinent for African leaders, climate activists, and civil society to demand an improved commitment from the developed nations. 

There has been a question about whether Africa can meet its climate change pledges. Yes, because most African countries have improved in policies and laws that helped shape climate change discussions. Of recent, the federal government signed into law the Climate Act and it also released Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan. 

The above is just one out of many, while the other part has to do with climate finance, which most African countries are struggling to meet up with. There is a need for world leaders to obey the Paris Agreement and keep their promise made during COP26 at Glasgow last year, where developed nations promised to double international finance for adaptation by 2025. 

For 27 years, world leaders have been negotiating, and it is believed we have had enough of the negotiations and that the time to act is now. Time does not seem to be on our side. 

Some people have argued that we have more pressing issues than climate change, but if you think the environment is less important than the economy, try to hold your breath while you count your money. 

Suleiman Akande wrote from Abuja 

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