African Group of Negotiators Discuss Approach for Climate Negotiations at ACPC Workshop
20 May 2014: African negotiators discussed approaches for closing the emissions gap and achieving binding commitments on climate change at a workshop hosted by the Africa Climate Policy Center (ACPC) for the African Group of Negotiators (AGN). Participants agreed that a lack of capacity continues to hinder Africa's ability to respond to climate change, including to implement projects, develop policies and access climate funds, and requested the ACPC to compile a narrative of UNFCCC decisions relevant to Africa from 1997 to the present to support them in their negotiation process.
Speaking at the workshop, the Ethiopian Minister of Environment and Forests, Belete Tafere, urged negotiators to be ambitious and focused in calling for binding emissions reductions commitments by “top emitters.” He advised negotiators to demonstrate Africa's commitment to a global solution by prioritizing mitigation. AGN chair, Nagmeldin Goutbi Elhassan, said negotiators should focus on the post-2015 agreement expected in Paris, France, as their target. Elhassan recommended the agreement incorporate the requirements of the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action in closing the emissions gap.
Fatima Denton, UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), said challenges can be turned into opportunities, such as through addressing agriculture, energy, forestry and water in the context of climate change. She affirmed ACPC's willingness to continue to support negotiators' needs.
Participants also requested the ACPC to develop a partnership for involving African lawyers in the negotiation process. Participants also discussed: engaging in climate negotiations outside formal negotiations; the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5); the implications of projected temperature increases on food security; and national initiatives on mitigation and adaptation.