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African countries to use climate change negotiations to address poverty


By Cecilia Ologunagba
LIMA (PERU) – African countries have resolved to use the on-going climate change negotiations and agreements to reduce the impacts of environmental challenges and to use it to address poverty on the continent.
This was part of the resolutions of the panelists and delegates who spoke on Thursday at the Africa Day side event at the 20th Conference of Parties (COP 20) in Lima, Peru.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event with the theme: “Africa in the Post-2015 New Climate Change Agreement” was organised to assess and review the African position in the agreement.
It was organised to provide a platform and opportunity to critically examine and bring to the attention of the world what the post-2015 climate change agreement could mean to Africa as a continent.
Dr Binilith Mahenge, the Tanzania Minister of State for Environment, told NAN that the continent should explore the opportunity of poverty reduction while addressing climate change.
“We want to use the climate change negotiations or the agreements after being passed to address the challenge of poverty in the continent.
“We have seen through our discussions that we can reduce the issue of poverty and at the same time address climate change.
“Each country should look at the areas of their strength, see how to address climate change and the same time empower their people,” he said.
He said that African leaders should have clear adaptation plans and look at the projects that will address poverty and also create job opportunities especially for the youths.
Also speaking, Ms Jesca Eriyo, Deputy Secretary-General (Production and Social Sectors), East African Community, said that climate change should be treated as a human right issue.
“The other group (developed countries) is trying to remove from their proposed text the issue of adaptation.
“ They think they are already supporting us (developing countries) for adaptation, if it is not in the agreement, they can support us for one or two years and they will abandon it.
“We must hold them accountable for this because the cost of adaptation is very expensive,’’ she said.
Eriyo, a panelist at the event, said that the cost of adapting to climate change is very expensive, describing it as a disaster.
She, however, called on African countries to embrace green technology and develop their infrastructure in a climate-resilient manner in order to be able to cope with the impact of climate change.
“ Our economy should not be frustrated with climate change. We don’t want to contribute to the greenhouse gases, the path others took.
“We want to make sure that our development path is green enough because we are already suffering from the consequences of climate change.’’
NAN reports that the event provided a good platform to unite African leaders, policymakers, partners and friends of Africa to deliberate on the continent’s concerns and priorities towards the New Climate Change Agreement.
The event also created a space for discussion on pertinent issues related to the implications of a New Global Climate Change Agreement on the continent.
Such issues include Africa’s readiness for climate finance, inclusive resilient economy, incorporating issues related to women and youth, and loss and damage.
It further explored the inclusivity of participation of women and youth in climate change responses as key drivers of change and sustainable development in Africa. (NAN)

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