The African Group of Negotiators has expressed concerns about the lack of progress by the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) with less than four days remaining before the end of the United Nations climate summit.
A critical component of the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change adopted at COP21 in France back in 2015, the GGA focuses on mobilisation of funds towards enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change.
African Group of Negotiators chairperson Collins Nzovu said though there is slow progress, he is hopeful that the adaptation funding framework will be delivered before the close of the summit.
“We are disappointed by the lack of progress on this important issue in the first week. Decisions we must reach at COP28 include, obviously first we are concerned about the lack of progress on various issues of importance to our group, particularly on finance and adaptation,” said Nzovu, also Zambia’s minister of Green Economy and Environment, while addressing journalists during a press conference on the sidelines of COP28 at Expo City in Dubai.
“However, with a few days remaining, we believe we can still deliver on the following work streams. On adaptation, we reiterate that adaptation is a key pillar for the African continent and the critical component in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.”
According to the United State Environmental Protection Agency, climate adaptation means “taking action to prepare for and adjust to both the current and projected impacts of climate change”.
Nzovu said adaptation is a matter of survival for the continent.
“Amid all the summits and meetings taking place to discuss the issue, what Africans need to see is action to help us adapt to this changing climate,” he said.
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“How are we to cope with the persistent droughts, the devastating storms and rising seas that threaten our lives and livelihoods?”
Nzovu also said he is looking forward to a result in tangible outcomes that reflect Africa’s aspirations, especially on the need for enhanced climate adaptation.
“We expect a robust framework on the global goal of adaptation outcome as the work programme comes to a close at this session,” he said.
Figures from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change show that $133.6 million has been announced so far toward the adaptation fund.
Africans feel this is too little as, according to Nzovu, billions of dollars and if not a trillion of dollars are needed for adaption on the continent.
He said adaptation is an emergency in Africa.
“We must act now. COP28 is mandated to complete the work undertaken for the last two years under the Global Goal on Adaption by launching a robust framework on it. This is the most important outcome for Africa,” he said.
“The outcome must explicitly recognise Africa’s developmental constraints. Finance and capacity building and technological transfer will be key for the framework.”
African civil society groups and activists are calling for more funds to be channeled towards the adaptation fund.
This is aimed at cushioning vulnerable countries like Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe where prolonged droughts and tropical cyclones have hit in the past decade.
Mohamed Adow, founder and director of climate and energy think-tank Power Shift Africa said the global goal for adaptation is not an African goal for adaptation.
“It's for all countries and as we know adaptation is good for the economy. At COP26, developed countries agreed to double financial support for adaptation to US$40 billion per year, but they have not yet done this (but) COP28 can be where we finally take adaptation seriously and close the adaptation gap,” he said.
Adow said there is a lot of noise about the GGA by rich countries unwilling to meaningfully participate in the actual negotiations on the framework for it, all the while claiming a willingness to engage.
“We do not need their rhetoric and corridor talks, this can be seen as hypocrisy at best and gaslighting at worst (because) we have been anticipating a result after two years of discussions and workshops on the goal,” he said.
“If COP28 does not deliver on this account, it will be a significant global failure not just for Africans and other vulnerable countries but for the whole world. Not only does the success of COP28 hang in the balance, so too do the lives of the 3.6 billion climate-vulnerable people around the world.”
- This story was produced with support from MESHA and IDRC Eastern and Southern Africa office.