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Giving Boost to the Climate Chance Summit: A review of two Declarations

About three decades ago , the world converged in Rio in Brazil,  marking  a significant   footprint of the  international community’s concern  about  Climate Change  and  related induced risk on humankind  growth and development .Since  then, Climate  Change  which  manifest  in   global warming have  gained  prominence  in  international development  discussion  landscape,   leading to    the creation  of  a  dedicated  convention  under the auspices of the  United Nations-The United Nations Convention on  Climate  Change.(UNFCCC).

The Convention is focused to mobilize and coordinate the efforts of Member States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions., since its establishment, the UNFCCC has facilitated a number of global gatherings in search of action steps towards averting climate change and impacts.

However, conclusions   from these global forums have often times hit a snag, arising from   contestation by ordinary citizens. NOT only have  these conclusions been  described as inadequate  but  sometimes as  warped  and   false in providing real  solutions  for addressing the fundamental raison d’être behind  climate change.

The global forums have been characterised by state led representation, sometimes in league   with the private sector. The conduct and mode operandi of the global gatherings create an atmosphere for   exclusion, narrowing the space for citizen’s participation. The systemic evolution of this process   imposes a certain kind of structural violence, diluting ordinary peoples   view and concerns.

Increasing the frontiers of inclusiveness for Non State Actors was recognised under the climate convention in Paris drafted in 2015 and signed in 2016- The Paris Agreement.

Subsequently the   provided for  a deliberative platform for Non-state Actors in Africa   symbolised by   Climate Chance .

 Climate Chance represents a platform for Non State Actors other than the Contracting Parties to the three Rio Conventions.

These are  the  United Nations Framework Convention  on Climate  Change  ( UNFCC).The United  Nations Convention on Climate and  Desertification( UNCCD)  and the Sustainable Development Goals(SDG) which replaced the Millennium Development goals . The first climate chance Summit in Sub- Sahara Africa took place in Abidjan in 2018  ,following a similar event in  2017 in Agadir ,Morocco .

 What scientists saw? 

In  spite of these global actions, Climate science records in 2015 and 2016 suggest  a rather worrying trend  in  global warming in a related manner  a  Special Report on  30 September on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate’ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ,adopted by member states on  in September, 2019 in Monaco,  indicate  dire warnings of  warming of the oceans and the widespread shrinking of the cryosphere .
It  defines ‘cryosphere’ as ‘the components of the Earth System at and below the land and ocean surface that are frozen, including snow cover, glaciers, ice sheets, ice shelves, icebergs, sea ice, lake ice, river ice, permafrost and seasonally frozen ground. The report further  indicate  that ocean  warming continue  unabated since 1970, recording   increased rate in   heat waves  from 1982 through   1993
This called into action  increased dynamism  in efforts  and the  boldness  to adopt a true and  responsive  measures  to abate  climate change and impact. This dynamism must   focus on addressing   the fundamental driving force behind climate change phenomenon. Climate Science sufficiently informs that there is   correlation between fossil energy based development orientation  and the  changing  climate .

This briefing   paper is a   review of the outcomes of  two Climate Chance Summits in Africa. These are the 2017 Non State Actors declaration in Agadir, Morocco and subsequently, the Abidjan declaration in 2018.

The Agadir and Abidjan Declarations

The two declarations   sought to  profer  appropriate  options  for  addressing  the global  climate menace ,while focusing on peculiar  concerns  in Africa.  Largely, the options offered by the two declarations are mutually reinforcing. Essentially, took cognisance  of the synergy between Financing and Adaptation and deployment  of  a pro adaptation local policies and actions. 

The Agadir proposal which  called for    access to  adequate climate  financing arrangement found favor with the Abidjan declarations, and thus  reinforces the aspiration of the ‘’One Planet Summit’’ The one planet summit  which took place in Paris  was a driven  by ordinary citizen’s networks and coalitions globally.

The two declarations focused attention on energy. While the Agadir declaration was upbeat  about ‘’ a  Just  Energy transition  as prerequisite  to propel   positive  economic and social transformation, the Abidjan declaration  was about   energy access . Both  declarations  took into account the value of  decentralization,  participations and cooperation , a feature that  received   further  clarity  under  the  Agadir summit, which noted   the benefits of   dialogue systems that is supportive of   transparency frameworks with  particular emphasis on global south.

Both declarations   acknowledge   the vertical and horizontal linkages of the different economic  sectors, and further  lend  credence  to the value of corporation between  state and non-state  actors. In this view , Morocco   went a step further , called for  working   closely  with the scientific community in experiments  intended  for climate resilience  and  also to  support    the future works of the  Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC).

The Abidjan summit touched on the gender, bringing into fore  the need for special attention on women and  targeted trainings for the youth in addressing climate change and  impacts,and  further emphasised the need for Africa to  strategically align   climate funds  expenditure with   gender based adaptation needs .

The importance of data and information capable of measuring greenhouse gas emissions and evolution in   African received  attention. In this vain, data has been projected as essential component for   evaluating the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)  of   African countries as  mandated   by the  to the Paris Agreement and also  noted in Morocco.

Observation and Recommendation

Undoubtedly, Mitigation and Adaption to Climate change remain imperative, and effectively emboldened in the two declarations.  However, overemphasis on adaptation and mitigation can set a dangerous trap as it stands to divert attention from addressing the root causal factor and driver of climate change.

Given the reality that fossil energy consumption has been the cornerstone of our current development state characterised by high climate change induced cost and implications for human security, validate the concept of  a Just Energy Transition. Setting a binding and realisable target for this energy transition is more relevant than ever. Generally the notion should infect our current development discussion spaces and particularly in climate Chance forums. The 2019 Climate Chance Summit in Ghana, Accra provides a useful avenue for deepening this proposal.  

The Agadir Declaration indicated a just Energy Transition as a propeller for future development and progress. However, this indication has not been clearly elaborated in the Abidjan declaration thus raising issues over consistency and focusing  of   the summits.

Working closely with other actors as noted by the two declarations remains appropriate, specifically with the scientific community in   carrying out experiments designed to support climate resilience.

This call has become more relevant in the face of a creeping momentum for  technologies with questionable capacities to mitigate the effects of  climate change .Thee include  agriculture technologies  such as  Genetic Modified  Crops and implications for biodiversity and climate change, Synthetic Biology . While the former refers to transporting genetics organs among unrelated organisms, i.e. from plant to animal the latter ordinarily refers to deliberate redesign of existing biological life forms in laboratories. This essentially attempt to bring about predictive engineering to the field of biological science. It should be noted that, living organisms are dependent on context and environment influences for their functioning and service provisioning. Fundamentally, unlike machine which can function in alien environment  these  technologies however  are  often  advertised as ‘’ climate smart’’ agriculture technologies even as they have warped incentives for such claims ,ultimately incapable of  addressing  the climate change and impacts confront ally.

Climate Chance must endorse the civil society led proposal for a dedicated Technology Assessment Platform that will interrogate technologies on sale and suitability for Africa.

 In October 2019 Oilwatch Africa in collaboration with ETC group called for such a platform with the view to appreciating technologies that aligns with Africa’s development needs .

An alarming feature of the current   fossil energy investment expansion provides incentive for  private sector  companies to take on greater risks in support of energy extraction, for instance Synthetic biology have become an obvious choicefor extracting  stranded Oil deposits in wells. This is achieved by   introducing   certain engineered microorganisms whose job is to facilitate extraction. While this technology stands to increase the fortunes of the private sector, it has dangerous implications for the climate with untold hardships for ordinary peoples and communities globally. 

The Above is Oilwatch Africa’s Position facilitated by its country member group, Oilwatch -Ghana. The piece is meant to contribute to shaping the focus of the Climate Chance Summit currently ongoing in Accra. The summit begun on the 16 and ends on 18 October. 2019.

This publication is made to coincide with the climate chance summit, offering insight into what the organizers should consider for next steps. 


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