African civil society groups have expressed disappointment with the progress and expected outcomes from the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change taking place in Sharma El-Sheikh, Egypt.
Coalesced under the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), the CSOs said that contrary to expectations by Africa, COP27 is ending, leaving millions of Africans in continued climate-related misery.
Mithika Mwenda, the Executive director, PACJA, said Africans leave COP27 a disappointed lot.
“We came with the hope that the momentum created by the discussions in the year ahead of COP27 under the facilitation of UNFCCC, the COP Presidency and the facilitation of friends of the COP will materialise with concrete outcomes in Egypt. But unfortunately, the end of COP is an anti-climax,” he stated.
Mwenda added that people facing starvation in the Eastern and Horn of Africa because of climate-related droughts, women in Nigeria drowning in floods and those buttered by the cyclones in Southern Africa would continue to wait for signals on action from the international community.
“This will continue to delay because decisions on loss and damage have been delayed yet again to 2024,” he said.
Tracy Sony, a gender specialist from Botswana, said the most pressing issue of concern is the lack of clear linkages between yearly plans, programmes and discussions from across continents but without concrete outcomes at every other COP.
“Why should we be meeting every year in these COPs that end up with no substantial outcomes?” she wondered.
Augustine Njamnshi, Chair, Political and Technical Committee, PACJA, noted that Africans leave COP27 less reassured of the goodwill of global leaders, especially those in high-polluting industrialised countries. He added that climate activists expected to see delegation from the developed countries make bold decisions reflecting the scale and urgency of the climate crisis.
Njamnshi noted that as in Glasgow last year, which lowered the bar and deferred urgent actions despite the high risk of missing the Paris Agreement targets, COP27 has dashed the hopes of the African people, potentially raising their plight.
Mentioning areas Africans felt let down by the COP27, Njamnshi said failure to admit Africa’s special needs and circumstances on the agenda of COP27 contributed to the slow progress, delays and, in some cases, the lowering of ambition on issues pertinent to Africa.
In addition, the deferral of a decision on financing loss and damage to 2024 with no guarantees of an outcome that reflects the aspirations and hopes of Africa and the lower-than-needed emission reduction ambition announced by big polluters, particularly the EU has downgraded the COP in the eyes of the Africans.
Njamnshi said the lack of a clear trajectory for phasing out fossil fuels, which has resulted in the decisions by some countries to continue using high polluting fossil fuels that has powered the same economic model behind the current climate crisis, would not be helpful.
“After a careful examination of what needs to change to rekindle hope and justify Africa’s continued engagement with the global effort to address the climate crisis, we call on African leaders to reassess the relevance of the UNFCCC and COP processes to the African people and take radical actions to strengthen Africa’s voice and participation,” said Njamnshi.
He demanded big polluters to honour their engagement to deliver the resources needed to address the climate crisis in Africa, especially as it concerns adaptation and loss and damage.
Florence Kasule, a climate activist from Uganda, said African women feel disappointed by the process and progress at this COP.
“The COP was tagged as an implementation COP with its promise on key African issues and had women excited since they are the major implementers of climate action at the grassroots,” she said.
However, women feel disappointed by the lack of action on adaptation, loss and damage, which has meant little action on agriculture upon which the economies of African countries rely on and given that women drive agriculture.
Lucky Abeng, a youth from Nigeria, said the youth that make up 70 per cent of the population of the continent leave COP27 disappointed.
“Young people have been disadvantaged and look to next year with uncertainty. The COP27 progress has done nothing but punctured the pride of the African youth,” he said.