African Group of Negotiators meet to strategise ahead of COP27


Lead Coordinators of the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) are meeting in Sham El Sheikh, Egypt to strategise and consolidate Africa’s position on the various thematic climate negotiation issues ahead of COP27 scheduled for November.

Key on the discussion table is the importance of delivering on the special needs and special circumstances of Africa—a continent which is the least contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions with less than 4% of total global emissions and yet the most adversely impacted region as reaffirmed by the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.

According to the IPCC, Africa is already experiencing severe and widespread impacts of climate change causing devastation to lives, livelihoods and the continent’s development trajectory.

This, according to AGN Chair, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima, is a clear manifestation of climate injustice, which must be corrected.

“As COP27 takes place in Africa this November, there are high expectations that ‘the African COP’ will deliver substantive progress and implementable climate actions on the priority issues for Africa and other developing countries, including on adaptation, loss and damage and delivering on the pledges on climate finance, with the ultimate aim of correcting the injustice and getting the world on a path to a secure and safe climate future,” said Shitima.

In deliberating on Africa’s special needs and special circumstances, the AGN Lead Coordinators’ Strategy Meeting is also looking at the continent’s energy poverty, with latest statistics showing over 600 million people have no access to electricity.

However, this is against the backdrop of a heightened global campaign for countries to transition to clean and green energy sources. Africa will require a just energy transition that ensures that resources and technologies are made available to enable the continent achieve both climate and development goals!!

But how does one without food react when they are asked to choose what to eat? This is the argument that the AGN team is putting across; highlighting the need to take into account Africa’s special needs and special circumstances.

Other key issues of concern at the meeting includes; Africa’s demonstrated commitment through submission of highly ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), with some countries spending up to 9% of their GDPs in addressing climate change and the need to scale up adaptation finance through a call for grant-based financial resources for African countries and adaptation finance goals to expedite the implementation of the two-year Glasgow-Sharm el-Sheikh work programme on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA).

The question on climate finance is as old as the climate negotiations but the AGN team is determined to have it resolved at COP27. Their key ask is for developed countries to put in place financial mechanisms that will unlock financial access at-scale and predictable funding for climate action on affordable and reasonable terms that do not further worsen the debt crisis; and of course, deliver on their financial obligations in relation to the provision of a decade plus pledge of USD 100 billion per annum.

The group also wants a clear and traceable delivery mechanism for the doubling of adaptation finance, which was pledged by developed countries in Glasgow in 2021, to avoid the mystery of the 100 billion USD per year, which has haunted negotiations since 2009.

The AGN team is also not overlooking Agriculture—the lifeblood of most countries on the continent. In view of its importance to most African countries’ food security and economic transformation, the AGN has set firmly its agenda on the need for a concrete and practical outcome through establishing an implementing mechanism under the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA) to facilitate the implementation of concrete actions.

Another key ask of the AGN at the African COP relates to delivering on finance and technical support for loss and damage through the operationalization of the Santiago Network for Loss and Damage- Technical support as well as a supervisory body to regulate the financial support for loss and damage under the UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement.

Notwithstanding the concentration on adaptation, the AGN’s call for mitigation action from developed countries to cut their emissions to achieve the global goal of 1.5 degrees has always been on the table and it will not be different at COP27. The group’s emphasis is also on the importance of support to conditional components of African countries’ NDCs.

Whichever one looks at it, the AGN is determined to ensure that COP27 dubbed the ‘African COP,’ delivers for the continent that is clearly suffering from climate injustice.

By Friday Phiri