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Africa analysis: securing the right climate deal

By Linda Nordling - posted Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Africa is failing to benefit from global initiatives to help developing countries deal with climate change.

The continent houses just 32 of the nearly 1,800 projects funded by the Clean Development Mechanism, a program under the Kyoto Protocol whereby rich countries pay developing ones to run emission-reducing projects.

This could change with discussions on new funding taking place as part of global climate negotiations that will culminate in a climate summit in Copenhagen in December. The summit is intended to set out binding agreements to curb global emissions after 2012, when current obligations under the Kyoto Protocol come to an end.


But Africa faces a race against time to make sure its unique challenges - including endemic poverty and a lack of skills and resources - are reflected in the new agreements.

Common goal

The continent's poor track record in influencing past climate negotiations has led its leaders to adopt a common negotiating position for Copenhagen.

The position, adopted in July this year, emphasises the need for rich nations - whose contributions to climate change exceed Africa's - to support adaptation and mitigation in poor countries.

It shows that although African states are willing to minimise their contribution to climate change, they want the international community to fund their mitigation efforts to the tune of US$67 billion per year by 2020.

Adopting a common position may help to get Africa's needs into any future climate deal, but the overarching themes must be translated into detailed proposals if they are to reach the negotiating table.

No new propositions will be considered in Copenhagen, so African countries will need to put their proposals forward at one of the two preparatory meetings ahead of the summit - in Bangkok in late September and in Barcelona in early November.


This leaves African countries with little time to work out the details of their requirements and to lobby the rest of the world.

Shared benefits

One opportunity for doing this was at a meeting on September 3 between African dignitaries and representatives from several countries from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to promote the continent's position on climate change.

African delegates at the meeting not only had to state their needs, but also offer concrete proposals for meeting them.

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First published in on August 26, 2009.

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About the Author

Linda Nordling is former editor of Research Africa.

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All articles by Linda Nordling

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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