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Africa, world leaders sign commitment for faster climate action

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - Regional and local leaders attending COP23 in Bonn have made it very clear that global warming is worsening, and that its consequences are upon humanity.

At a moment of escalating environmental crisis on land, air and sea, leaders including those from Africa signed the Bonn-Fiji Commitment on Sunday November 12,2017 at COP23 in Bonn, to take further, faster action to deliver the Paris Agreement at all levels of government.


“The truth is undeniable,” said Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace international director. “The escalating environmental crisis again expose the dire threat to people on the frontlines of climate change.”

But the African civil society groups are wary of the multiplicity of commitments, calling on the Global community to instead take a common stand against Trump and his allies.

" We are tired of signing commitment after commitment. It is time to classify the global community into two: those for the people and planet, and those for Trump and Profit," says the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance. 

"Unless we see accelerated action on the implementation of the Paris Agreement pursuant to Marrakech Action Plan by industrialised countries, signing commitments for faster climate action without kicking Trump and his allies from climate negotiations turns logic on its head," PACJA's Mithika Mwenda said. 
 
Humans themselves, through a combination of deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels for energy and transportation, are almost entirely at fault exposing human habitat to climate threats, thus the need for a critical self examination, the leaders emphasized.

With more than half the global population living in cities and expected to approach two thirds by 2050, the Bonn-Fiji Commitment of Local and Regional Leaders to deliver the Paris Agreement pushes forward efforts to advance sustainable urban development as an integral part of  urgent global climate action and the inter-linked goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“This is particularly focused around Sustainable Development Goal 11 – to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable,” the commitment stated.

It notes that urgent action is needed as extreme weather events and disasters are undercutting food security for millions around the world, especially among poor developing nations in Africa and South America, adding that 23.5 million people were displaced in 2016 by weather-related disaster, creating a flood of climate refugees throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.
 
Worse as this is, the commitment believes it is "merely a harbinger of things to come,” 

The leaders commit to build resilient, low carbon communities to permit urban areas play an influential role in the course of global development.

“City and regional governments are pushing ahead, with an acute sense of their role in building a resilient, low carbon society,” said Ashok Sridharan, Lord Mayor of Bonn, Germany;
 
“Urban areas will play an influential role in the course of global development. By making urban sustainability a core part of national climate action, countries will be in a better position to meet and exceed their national climate goals,” he noted.

The commitment encompasses 19 initiatives, including creation of the African Sub-national Climate Fund to bridge the gap between infrastructure demands and the low number of bankable projects reaching investors, by providing ready-to-invest projects and funds to support the implementation of at least 100 infrastructure projects by 2020. 

It also include the creation of Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy - the largest coalition of over 7,400 cities from six continents and 121 countries to reduce emissions and make societies and economies resilient to climate change.

Cities are responsible for as much as 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels used for energy and transport, and 13 percent of the global urban population lives in vulnerable low-elevation coastal areas, the commitment initiative stated.

The Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA), a regional body of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, is opening the door for more Sub-Saharan cities to join efforts to expand access to sustainable and efficient energy services.

 The Urban Climate Change research network says an estimated 80 percent of the costs of adapting to climate change are needed in urban areas. But much of the estimated $80 to 100 billion financing needed per year remains inaccessible to city governments and there is also a lack of bankable local projects reaching investors.

It is against this backdrop that the leaders have called on Planners for Climate Action, from UN-Habitat, to help ensure urban and regional planners play a strong role in advancing global climate and sustainability goals. To this end, this initiative will improve urban and regional planning practice and planning education.

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