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Disaster-hit Africa struggles at Doha indaba

29 November 2012, Swazi Observer

THE climate change negotiations in Doha, the capital of Qatar, continue to be a big frustration for African countries greatly affected by droughts, tropical cyclones and storms.
At least this is the view of African non-governmental organisations advocating for a better deal at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18).
“If the present is not safe then there is no point in talking about the future,” said HindouOumar the coordinator from the Indigenous Peoples of Africa.
She said the climate talks were dragging on and do not seem to be providing solutions, and even this year, after 18 years of negotiations, it is not promising that developed countries are committed towards reducing emissions and supporting adaptation funds. “We need the money right now,” she said.

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) said all they see in Doha is a collusion of developed states to frustrate the negotiation process while they continue to pollute the environment.
According to PACJA member Noah Zimba, developed countries are not negotiating in good faith and using their financial resources to divide the African continent although the earth continues to warm up leading to more impacts of climate change.
“Expectations are downgraded. Processes are delayed. Pressure is mounting on developing countries,” complained Zimba. dismantle Meantime, he said, developed countries proposals seeking to end the Kyoto Protocol, which legally compels their developing counterparts to reduce emissions, and dismantle the United Nations climate regime.
“The negotiation space is suffocated by those who continue to pollute the environment,” said Zimba.

However, Emmanuel Dlamini, the chairman of the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) said all is not lost in the negotiations because countries agreed to a possible second commitment to the Kyoto Protocol in Durban, South Africa, last year during COP 17. “We have launched a new negotiation body to enhance the ambition level through a protocol, a legal instrument or an outcome with a legal force,” explained Dlamini before the negotiations started on Monday. He insists the negotiations have made progress to benefit Africa. Dlamini also said in Durban countries also agreed to establish the Green Climate Fund that is believed to be the climate change convention financial mechanism to fund adaptation and mitigation projects. This fund will also fund projects that will help African countries develop technology to help in adaptation strategies.
In terms of accessing adaptation funding for the country, Dlamini said Swaziland has two projects funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) – one with the Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (SWADE) and another with the water department.

“We at the Meteorological Service have been receiving funding for enabling activities twice now and we’re on the way for the third time,” said Dlamini. He is leading a team of African negotiators advancing the agenda for not only the Kingdom but the African continent which is by far greatly affected by the impact of climate change. “The UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol is the only available platform at UN level to talk about addressing the problem of climate change. We need to continue looking for a solution because if we stop we are likely to continue suffering the consequences,” he said. Scientists insist the world is getting warmer and there are severe consequences if countries do not reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. While developing countries are urged to reduce emissions and own up to their commitments in the Kyoto Protocol, developing countries like Swaziland are calling for funding to help them adapt to the changing climate change that has led drought, floods and tropical cyclones.

Secretary to Cabinet and head of the technical team in Doha, MbusoDlamini, concurred with Emmanuel. That is why Swaziland is excited about the recognition of chairing the AGN for the first time since the process started 18 years ago.“This is putting the country in a strategic position to link up with potential cooperation partners and funders to help the Kingdom address climate change in a manner that will benefit all levels of society,” said Mbuso. He said it is significant that Swaziland is leading a group of 54 members – the largest at the conference – for the first time in the history of the UN. “We’re very happy that Emmanuel has been tasked with this responsibility and we pray that he lives up to the expectations of the country,” said Dlamini. Swaziland is supporting the call to limit global temperature to not more than 1.5 degrees and for more funds to come to the country to help its people, particularly farmers adapt to climate change. “The impact of climate change won’t go away. We need money and technology to adapt,” said  the secretary to cabinet.
 “Can you imagine if Cyclone Sandy, which hit the US had attacked Africa which doesn’t have resources to cope?” Next week, the Prime Minister, Sibusiso Dlamini, is expected to lead a political delegation to Doha to strengthen the voice of the country before an agreement is reached.

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