Seth Onyango, bird story agency
African nations are intensifying their push for substantial climate finance from the world's biggest polluters as the 28th edition of the Conference of the Parties (COP) gets underway in Dubai.
As the lowest overall emitter of greenhouse gases, the continent wants to ensure that the Global Stocktake (GST) - a key focus of COP28 - reflects its needs and priorities for climate adaptation, loss and damage, and access to finance and technology.
The GST is a pivotal five-year inventory of progress under the Paris Agreement. Items on the inventory include limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, enhancing adaptation, and mobilising finance.
African delegates will leverage their unique position as the least contributors to global emissions to champion a more equitable distribution of climate resources.
This approach is finding resonance across the halls of the summit, drawing attention to the continent's dual narrative: as a minimal contributor to a growing climate crisis but at the same time, a major recipient of its impacts.
After enduring a devastating drought, the Horn of Africa is now grappling with floods, causing widespread displacement across countries like Somalia and Kenya - focusing attention on the issues of climate change and warming.
In February, Southern Africa was struck by Cyclone Freddy, the most prolonged tropical storm on record, resulting in the loss of over 1,000 lives.
Central to Africa's agenda at COP28 is securing adequate funding for climate adaptation and mitigation, especially the US$100 billion to help developing nations, agreed during the Paris conference.
According to the African Group of Negotiators' (AGN) chief negotiator, Ephraim Shitima, a just transition is crucial as African states seek to decouple their economies from fossils.
The AGN is also calling for a recalibration of climate finance mechanisms, emphasising the urgent need for funds that address the immediate and long-term impacts of climate change in African countries.
This includes infrastructure development, technological support, and capacity building to bolster resilience against climate-induced adversities.
COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber in his opening remarks urged bold decisions on Global Stocktake asserting “we have the power to do something unprecedented.”
“The science has spoken," Al Jaber told delegates. “It has confirmed the moment is now to find a new road, a road wide enough for all of us, free of the obstacles and detours of the past. That new road starts with a decision on the Global Stocktake, a decision that is ambitious, corrects course and accelerates action to 2030.”
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