Prosper Ndlovu, Business Editor
AFRICA must develop a common regional policy position on climate change that will guide the continent’s negotiations with other economic blocs at the international stage, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) has said.
As world leaders brace for early December’s United Nations (UN) Conference on Climate Change, an international response to climate change issues, also known as COP25, Comesa believes Africa must have a common position to project her interests.
A regional technical consultative meeting is under way in Kigali between the Comesa and East African Community (EAC) secretariats and the Rwandan government, to lay out a preparatory framework ahead COP25. The secretariats, both beneficiaries of the European Union’s ACP’s global climate change alliance grant, have agreed to organise joint technical engagements to come up with position papers for submission to guide Africa in the negotiations during COP25 sessions.
“This pre-COP25 regional consultative meeting will be used to develop a regional policy position paper for EAC partner states and Comesa member states. The position paper will be submitted to the Africa group of negotiators to guide negotiations during the 25th conference of parties to the United Nations framework convention on climate change sessions set for December 2019 in Madrid, Spain,” said Comesa in a statement.
Both the EAC and Comesa have an observer status to the UN climate conference processes and plan to participate in the forthcoming sessions to showcase the milestones, achievements and lessons learnt from the implementation of their climate change programmes in the region.
“This consultative meeting is important because it will ensure that the interests of African countries are adequately and fairly reflected in the ongoing climate change negotiations,” Comesa climate change advisor, Dr Maclay Kanyangarara, said.
The regional consultative meeting is being attended by negotiators and policy makers including national climate change focal points for UN and ministries responsible for EAC affairs and representatives from Comesa countries. According to experts, it is important that African countries engage effectively in inter-governmental climate change negotiations, decision-making processes and eventual implementation of the decisions taken.
Regional economic communities have a critical role to play in supporting solutions to trans-boundary issues related to a changing climate. During the meeting in Rwanda, issues of regional importance will be identified with a clear road map of how to mainstream them into regional programmes and national implementation. Since its establishment in 199, Comesa has brought together 21 African member states with a population of 560 million people into a cooperative framework for sustainable economic growth and prosperity through regional integration. The combined list of member states participating in the negotiations are; Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eswatini, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Seychelles, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.