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Why Africa and Partners Must Go Up a Gear on Climate


The pandemic took the spotlight off climate change in Africa, despite 2020 seeing warming temperatures, rising sea levels, and extreme, erratic weather events.

2020 saw time lost and meetings postponed. But the lead-up to the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November (COP26) brings the spotlight back to climate issues, and a packed international agenda offers an opportunity for Africa to reach Glasgow better prepared and better understood than ever before.

Despite the heavy focus on COVID-19, climate issues in Africa certainly did not go away in 2020 – they continued to exacerbate security challenges, population displacement, and heighten the vulnerability of agriculture and food supply. Tanguy Gahouma-Bekale, chair of the African Group of Negotiators for COP26, says ‘efforts should not be to stop development because we must cut our emissions. It is more about maintaining low levels of emissions and providing more policy details’.

Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change yet is only responsible for four per cent of global emissions and needs real help to pay for adaptation and green development. Negotiators seek progress on finance including new debt-swap and other financial instruments – plus the oft trumpeted $100 billion per year agreed at previous COPs to support developing countries with mitigation and adaptation, and help for access to and payment for the transfer of new, clean technology.

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