By Mary Hearty

With less than 70 days to the twenty-seventh Conference of Parties (COP27) in Egypt, developed countries have been urged to honor their commitments for Africa to provide means for implementation of all the objectives of the Paris Agreement, especially to substantially reduce global warming to well below 2°C and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C goal.

Africa has contributed among the least to the climate emergency yet it is already facing devastating impact with biodiversity loss, water shortages, reduced food production, loss of lives and livelihoods.

All these is undoing years of progress undermining the sustainable development goals.

Speaking during the inauguration of the Africa Climate Week, Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group affirmed that COP27 must show that multilateralism can deliver for Africa and for the world, noting that all the catastrophic impacts of climate change undermine progress to achieve sustainable goals.

She highlighted: “We need to see that the commitments made are commitments kept including those made at the COP26 in Glasgow,” adding that developed countries must provide specifics of how they will honor their commitment to deliver the US$ 100 billion a year to developing countries for climate action.

In addition, she said they also need to demonstrate how they will double finance for adaptation by 2025, noting  “We need to see more updated nationally determined contribution (NDC) targets and long term strategies for achieving global emissions and reductions of 45% by 2030 so that we can reach the net zero emissions globally by 2050.”

According to the United Nations, NDC is a climate action plan to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts. Each Party to the Paris Agreement is required to establish and update it every five years.

She also called for the need to accelerate the transition to renewable energy, noting that at the moment, only 2% of the renewable energy investments flow to Africa, with more than 600 million people in Africa lacking access to basic electricity, universal access to energy is a priority.

The massive investment required is expected to unlock millions of jobs for the youth as the region has abundant wealth of strategic minerals needed for a global renewable energy revolution. To seize this huge opportunity, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations pointed out the need for support strengthening manufacturing capacity to be a part of the supply chain of key technologies.

In this regard, she suggested: “It would be useful to bring concrete proposals to COP27 on the kind of international corporation mechanisms you would need to enhance access to these technologies and kick start the building of a renewable energy industrial sector.”

Countries need resources to decarbonize and build resilience. In addition to helping mobilize US$ 100 billion a year, she said the management shareholders of international development banks must over hold their models and operations to make their institutions fit for purpose for this transition.

This will mean banks setting renewable energy targets, working with financial intermediaries to increase renewable energy finance, supporting governments and setting the regulatory frameworks needed to support renewable energy and increasing the risk appetite to mobilize the trillions that must come from the private sector.

Sameh Shoukry, Designated President of the COP27 said Africa already has limited financial means at the continental level of support to spend around 2-3% of the GDP per annum to adapt to these impacts. He added that it is a disproportionate responsibility that cannot be described as anything other than climate injustice.

With this in mind, he encouraged African governments and all other African voices including civil societies, youth, women, farmers, workers, academia, and thriving African private sector to continue to call for climate justice based on equity, and availability of means of implementation and guided by the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

This year, the world is facing multiple cascading challenges emanating from the tenth global geopolitical landscape, food and energy, security crisis in addition to the increased cost of finance and the challenge compounded by impacts of climate change, with developing countries, particularly in Africa having to deal with consequences while facing their existing vulnerabilities and developmental challenges.

“COP27 is around the corner, and its message is loud and clear, there is no extra time, no plan B and there should also be no backsliding or backtracking on commitments and pledges, hence timely robust effective and up scaling implementation needs to happened now to offset this clear danger and to save lives and livelihoods,” Shaoukry stated.