African countries must drive own just energy transitions pathways

Monday, February 7, 2022

President Cyril Ramaphosa says a unilateral approach for all African countries in the transition from high to low carbon emissions will not work for the continent.

The President was addressing the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change during the 35th ordinary session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).

“COP26 recognises our right to develop our own development pathways towards shared global objectives, based on our national circumstances and the guiding principles of the [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change]. Foremost amongst them is equity, and the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities.

“A one-size-fits-all approach to complex issues such as a transition from fossil fuels that disregards the realties on the ground in Africa will simply not work, and is neither just nor equitable. Africa’s Special Needs and Circumstances need to be recognised globally because of our natural resource based economies, and owing to high levels of poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment,” the President said.

He urged AU members to “promote and defend” the right for African and other developing nations to develop their own climate change strategies.

President Ramaphosa added that these countries must also be given support “in the form of finance, technology and capacity building” for these strategies to be implemented and carried out.

“Developed economy countries have agreed to support the implementation of Just Transitions that promote sustainable development, poverty eradication, and the creation of decent work and quality jobs.

“It is still of concern that the necessary financial flows to enable developing economy countries in particular to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change remain vastly inadequate,” he said.

The President reflected that global warming has had a costly impact on the countries on the continent.

“Africa is experiencing the worst impacts of phenomena associated with global warming such as droughts, floods and cyclones. Climate change impacts are costing African economies between 3 and 5% of their GDPs. Despite not being responsible for causing climate change, it is Africans who are bearing both the brunt and the cost,” he said.

President Ramaphosa urged that countries continue to collaborate to address climate change and its repercussions.

“The nations of the world can only address the global climate change crisis by working together. All Parties should honour their undertakings and commitments, and base their climate actions and policies on latest available science. They should furthermore respect the UNFCCC’s guiding principles,” Ramaphosa said. –