As COP 27 looms, Africa should be prepared

THE 27th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 27) will be held in Africa for the first time in the city of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt to deliberate on critical issues regarding climate change.

The COP27 which will start on Saturday this week to November 18th will deliver action on issues critical to addressing the climate emergency, from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, helping communities build resilience and adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change, to financing climate action and addressing loss and damage in developing countries.

The conference will bring together heads of various countries in the world, including large countries that lead in carbon emissions and contribute a large amount to climate change.

African countries are attending and each one is required to submit a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) implementation statement that shows efforts to deal with climate change in each sector.

Each country is supposed to state its goals to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by how much and by which year. For instance, each country is supposed to declare that by 2025, 2030 or 2040 it will reduce pollution by which percentage for each sector and explain how it will be able to achieve those goals.

What youths said

On 20th September 2022, Africa Youth Transformation (AYT), in partnership with the Embassy of Ireland in Tanzania, conducted a Pre COP27 consultation with key stakeholders focusing on meaningful youth perspectives in the context of COP27.

The event aimed to strengthen meaningful participation of youth voices towards COP27 through consultative dialogues on the efforts to tackle and address the impacts of climate change, and emphasis on raising climate change awareness in both urban and rural areas.

After the youth consultation, AYT will compile the youth opinions that were generated from the dialogues and produce a position paper that will be included in the National Report during COP27.

A stakeholders meeting included journalists and there were some opinions from ordinary citizens claiming that climate change does not concern them at all. With these answers it is obvious they need to be educated and everyone should know that climate change affects every human being.

Through the dialogues, the AYT Executive Director, Justine Mponda said there is no harmonised knowledge to youth and others on climate change.

Mponda says as young people they plan to raise awareness so that those who are going to represent the country would have an understanding of the situation. In addition, they collected ideas that will help move forward the agenda towards COP27.

Apart from national priorities, he says it is vital to get a solution since many Tanzanians depend on agriculture.

“As young people, we want to see our leaders and government officials who will represent us carry the national agenda of asking developed and giant countries to sign an agreement to provide adaptation funds to push forward the agenda of national change,” he said.

He says since the government depends on the youth who are the workforce of the nation, it is vital that critical agendas are pushed forward to avoid certain calamities because if nothing is done, they are bound to happen sooner or later, so the country should take precautions and prepare well to present the country’s agenda at COP27.

“Before the representatives of COP27 go to Egypt, it is good to increase awareness and learn how the environment affects various things,” says Mponda.

The Maasai community in Loliondo, Ngorongoro District, Tanzania, who for all the years depend on livestock, especially cattle, and their food consisting of meat and milk, have now been forced to start engaging in other activities such as agriculture after their natural activity of breeding cattle was hard hit by climate change.

“Letting go of the big debate that exists in the field of food security, young people have come up with an argument that the government should look at the priorities that will benefit them.

“African countries are facing several challenges, including poverty and diseases like Covid 19, Ebola, malaria and many others,” says Mponda.

The Binti Salha Foundation (BSF) Director, Salha Aziz says that the environment also contributes to failure to reach development of the country in terms of gender. Change in climate patterns also affects girls in their lessons, because they have to cover long distances in search of water during school hours.

She says poor access to water also affects girls during their menstruation period, which interferes with their school attendance.

“The issue of climate change does not affect the agricultural sector only; it affects many sectors including education.

Africa contributes to 0.04 of the carbon emissions in the world, with the leading countries being the United States and China, who have set specific goals that are sometimes impossible to achieve due to economic pressures because they are the leading industries that produce carbon emissions.

Member countries of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) before the COP 27 adopted a long-term goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050, following two weeks of the 41st diplomatic session of the organisation’s General Council.

While the arguments between developed and developing countries continue on the pollution of the ozone layer and who has done what to reduce the pollution, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, in March this year said that the weather is getting worse and the temperature is increasing in the world.

To have a world where vehicles use electricity, a world where sea vessels use only clean energy, and airplanes travelling using clean hydrogen air may seem like a dream or a movie, but during the COP26 meeting in Glasgow many governments and business companies said that they have begun to fulfil  those dreams and make them a reality.

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