African nations seek common position on climate in run-up to Cop27

Policymakers, regional institutions, grassroots activists and the private sector are meeting in Maputo, Mozambique

Somalis who fled drought-stricken land arrive at a makeshift camp for the displaced on the outskirts of Mogadishu. AP
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African nations have opened climate talks in the Mozambican capital of Maputo to identify priorities and come up with a common position before Cop27, the United Nations summit in Egypt in November.

The meeting was jointly organised by the UN, the African Union, the African Development Bank and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, a civil society group.

Participants include policymakers and regional institutions, as well as grass roots activists and representatives from the private sector.

The talks come as Africa grapples with devastating cyclones in the south and a debilitating drought across the east and the Horn of Africa.

The continent of 1.2 billion people, making up 17 per cent of the world’s population, contributes less than 4 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

But it faces extreme weather, which scientists have warned will become more frequent due to climate change.

“Africa … is a vulnerability hotspot for climate change,” said Anna Tjaervar, a Swedish diplomat speaking at the forum. She said adapting to climate change should be a priority for the continent.

Officials are expected to decide whether to ask developing nations for reparations for environmental damage in Africa, known in climate circles as loss and damage.

The UN estimates that African nations already spend between 2 per cent and 9 per cent of their national income on natural disasters linked to climate change.

The forum will focus on using indigenous knowledge and land practices for conservation and efforts to adapt, rather than relying on external help, said Jean-Paul Adam, the head of climate at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

Indigenous voices will play a critical role in the talks, said James Murombedzi, the head of the African Climate Policy Centre.

He said their experiences would help strengthen Africa’s standing at the international climate talks in November.

Updated: July 28, 2022, 9:33 AM