President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba has called on African nations to develop strategies to address climate change which poses an existential threat to the continent’s megacities.
Ondimba, who made the call at the third Africa Climate Week conference, said that African officials and experts must sharpen the positions they will present at the 27th annual United Nations climate conference to be held in Egypt in November.
The third African climate meeting comes just months before the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 is scheduled to take place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, in November and brings together ministers, officials from key UN and multilateral agencies and more than 1,000 delegates from 42 African countries.
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Nicknamed the African COP, COP27 is set to build on previous successes and serve as an opportunity for stakeholders to effectively tackle the global challenge of climate change and pave the way for future ambition.
It comes just as the continent reels from several extreme weather events such as drought in East Africa and the Horn of Africa, sandstorms and extreme heat in West Africa’s Sahel region, and destructive flash floods, storm surges including cyclones in central, western and southern Africa.
Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth group of former British colonies, said at the meeting that Climate change is a profound challenge in Africa and a great challenge of our time, amplifying existing social, political and economic inequalities.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who will host the upcoming U.N. conference, also lamented that promises made to African countries to help them fight climate change have not been fulfilled.
Shoukry said that the international community is lagging in mitigation, adaptation and finance. Several pledges on mitigation and adaptation finance celebrated in Glasgow are yet to be delivered.
He said that the “backtracking on commitments by many developed countries is a matter of concern” for many African countries. “The delayed delivery of climate finance continues to affect Africa’s efforts to contribute to the global effort against climate change,” he said.
The African climate week conference is expected to, among other things, discuss other critical concerns of the continent including food security, carbon markets, climate migrants, and coastal resilience. Climate early warning systems, integrated water management to address scarcity and international cooperation to boost climate action are also issues to be examined.
Story was adapted from Africanews.