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Young African Lawyers and panelists

The following side events were covered by ENB+ on Thursday, 3 December 2015:

IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ Meeting Coverage, is providing web coverage, including photos and video, of selected events from the Africa Pavilion at COP 21.


Paris Outcome and Africa's Adaptation Need Presented by: The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA)

Seth Osafo, former Senior Legal Advisor, UNFCCC

This side event focused on the potential outcome of COP 21 and the African continent’s adaptation need and involved experts associated with the African Group of Negotiators (AGN).

Mithika Mwenda, Secretary General, PACJA, moderated the session and opened by saying the draft outcome text from COP 21 already has 50 pages “full of so many brackets and options that it is likely ungrammatical.” He questioned how the disagreements can be resolved with less than 10 days until the close of the summit.

Seth Osafo, former Senior Legal Advisor, UNFCCC, explained the genesis of the negotiations, focusing on compromises that were reached following Japan and Canada pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol. What is happening today, he said, is an effort to get all of those countries that were not parties to the Kyoto Protocol to commit to a new agreement. He ruled out the possibility of creating new legal instruments such as a framework or an amendment and underscored that Parties in Paris are talking only about an agreement, “and an agreement might contain anything, or nothing at all.” He lamented that the issue of differentiation as contained in Article 3 of the UNFCCC is being pushed aside, and said the principles of historical responsibility, common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) and equity are in fact already accepted in the Convention.

Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, former Chair, AGN, said the issue of differentiation is a red line for the AGN. According to science, developed countries hold historical responsibility for climate change. Referring to the Kyoto Protocol, he said that Annex II countries owe a “climate debt” to developing countries. He said there is no clarity about the climate finance landscape post-2020 and that the proposed US$100 billion of climate finance is merely a floor for financing. He compared and contrasted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which are likely to become legally binding, with the lack of a legally binding financial mechanism.

Aminata Niang, Member, Pan African Parliament, expressed hope that COP 21 in Paris can renew confidence in multilateral processes following the failure in Copenhagen. She said the time has come for Africa to have an equitable, ambitious agreement that addresses adaptation, mitigation, transfer of technology and capacity building.

Lidy Nacpil, Regional Coordinator, Jubilee South, expressed solidarity from Asian civil society groups with Africa and said many in Asia are relying on AGN leadership at the UNFCCC. She lamented the wealthy, industrialized countries’ negotiating strategy of “weakening developing countries by dividing them.” Developing countries have the moral authority, she said, to call rich governments to account for “delivering pledges that are not even half of their fair share.” She referenced the report “A CSO Equity Review of INDCs,” saying it shows industrialized countries are backtracking on their commitments. She said negotiators must insist on a scaling up of financing targets and not call it “assistance.”

Maria Phiri, Gender and Climate Change Expert, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), talked about the African Group on Gender and Climate Change, a platform run by regional stakeholders throughout Africa. She said the issue of gender at COP 21 is anchored on historical responsibility and equity. She urged the Paris outcome to be gender responsive and action-oriented.

Audience members raised issues including: labeling of official development assistance as climate finance, whether or not Paris will turn out to be another Copenhagen and “red lines” for the AGN.

Lidy Nacpil, Regional Coordinator, Jubilee South

Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, former Chair, AGN

Maria Phiri, Gender and Climate Change Expert, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)

Aminata Niang, Member, Pan African Parliament

+ More Information:

http://www.pacja.org/

+ Contacts:

Maeve Glavey (PACJA) - maeve@pacja.org

Young African Lawyers (YAL) Programme in Support of Africa's Climate Negotiations Presented by: UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

L-R: Matthew Stilwell, Climate Change Expert and Legal Advisor, African Group of Negotiators (AGN); Mithika Mwenda, Secretary General, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance; Pa Ousman Jarju, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Forestry, Water and Wildlife, The Gambia; Seth Osafo, former Senior Legal Advisor, UNFCCC

This event highlighted the work and members of the YAL Programme in support of Africa’s climate negotiations and was chaired by Seth Osafo, former Senior Legal Advisor, UNFCCC.

The session heard opening remarks from Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission (AUC) who said when the UNFCCC process was first initiated 21 years ago, many of the young lawyers participating in today’s session had not yet been born.

Fatima Denton, Director, Special Initiatives Division, UNECA, outlined that the YAL Programme is helping the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) analyze legal aspects of the UNFCCC negotiations and helps free up the negotiators’ time. She urged participants to tell their governments to support and utilize the Programme so it does not “die a natural death.”

Pa Ousman Jarju, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Forestry, Water and Wildlife, The Gambia, highlighted his appreciation for the YAL Programme when he was a negotiator. He said lawyers play a pivotal role in ensuring justice and fairness in climate agreements. He expressed a wish for the Programme to extend support so each country has a lawyer to support their national delegation.

Mithika Mwenda, Secretary General, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, argued Africa can be visible and have an impact in the “forest that we call climate negotiations if we are able to coordinate ourselves” which the YAL Programme is helping to do.

Matthew Stilwell, Climate Change Expert and Legal Advisor, AGN, said at COP 21 “we are not just making history, we are making law” to address the greatest challenge to humanity and Africa. He noted each of the young lawyers are working closely with lead coordinators in the AGN, and their contributions have empowered those coordinators to champion Africa’s cause in the negotiations. He emphasized the YAL Programme is building the capacity of lawyers and creating a foundation for a legacy that will last beyond 2020 as the agreement in Paris is just an initial blueprint.

Wilbur K. Ottichilo, Member, Kenya National Assembly, emphasized the need to build the capacity of young lawyers to contribute to developing national legal instruments on climate change and environment so countries do not have to seek assistance from outside.

Members of the YAL Programme subsequently presented on their work. Diob Gueye, Senegal, who is following legal and procedural issues, said law has to do with everything in the outcome text. He noted the legal nature of the outcome has yet to be agreed and that negotiators are focusing more on the content of the agreement rather than the name of the agreement.

Rachel Rwomushana, Uganda, is working on Article 2 on the purpose of the agreement. She outlined that progress so far has been slow and that Africa cannot afford to have no text in the Article.

Ketrah Katunguka, Uganda, said Article 11 is on facilitation, implementation and compliance, and noted the importance of the YAL Programme saying it has been an “eye opener” regarding how negotiations work.

Selamawit Desta, Ethiopia, is working on financial aspects of the negotiations and highlighted the need to include differentiation in the agreement and to keep the specific reference to Africa in the text. She noted the young lawyers have recommended that the AGN push for a reference to the Adaptation Fund in the agreement text to reaffirm its mandate.

Natasha Banda, Zambia, is working on mitigation, and said it would be useful for the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions to be in Annex II of the Paris agreement.

Keamogetse Molefhe, Botswana, is working on the long term goal of mitigation. She highlighted the AGN wants the long term goal to reflect differentiation between developed and developing countries.

Binyam Yakob Gebreyes, Ethiopia, works on the adaptation section of Work Stream 1 and highlighted that the G77/China has been able to agree on a common position on adaptation.

Seth Osafo, former Senior Legal Advisor, UNFCCC

Fatima Denton, Director, Special Initiatives Division, UNECA

Matthew Stilwell, Climate Change Expert and Legal Advisor, AGN

Pa Ousman Jarju, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Forestry, Water and Wildlife, The Gambia

Members of the YAL Programme take notes.

Selamawit Desta, Lawyer, Ethiopia

+ More Information:

http://www.uneca.org/

+ Contacts:

Johnson Nkem (UNECA) - JNkem@uneca.org

REDD+ Readiness in Ethiopia Presented by: Government of Ethiopia

L-R: Tsegaye Tadesse, Ethiopia Team, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI); Yitebitu Moges, National REDD+ Coordinator, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ethiopia; Anders Vatn, Counsellor, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia; Tefera Mengistu, Advisor to the State Minister of Forest, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ethiopia

The Government of Ethiopia organized this session, titled “REDD+ Readiness in Ethiopia,” during which presenters shared the country’s experience with readiness activities as part of REDD+ (reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation of existing forest carbon stocks, sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks).

Tefera Mengistu, Advisor to the State Minister of Forest, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ethiopia, opened the session by noting the importance of collaboration with partners. Anders Vatn, Counsellor, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia, began by noting that Norway is one of the initial donors to Ethiopia’s green growth strategy and invited other donors to join the effort.

Yitebitu Moges, National REDD+ Coordinator, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ethiopia, presented on REDD+ preparations in Ethiopia noting progress in developing a national strategy, safeguard instruments and a measuring, reporting and verification system. The vision, he said, is to conserve 17 million hectares of forest and store 2.9 gigatons of carbon in order to improve hydropower and irrigation development, raise incomes through timber and non-timber forest products and boost tourism. He said that Ethiopia has finalized REDD+ readiness (phase 1 of the mechanism) and will now move to phase 2 on implementation. He highlighted a model REDD+ pilot program, the Oromia Forested Landscape Program, which has mobilized US$68 million in financing (US$50 million of which is for emissions reduction payments), although he said this is not yet adequate, it is a good start.

Tsegaye Tadesse, Ethiopia Team, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), presented on Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy. He said that REDD+ is an integral part of the CRGE strategy in order to reduce emissions, increase carbon stocks, protect biodiversity and watersheds, and enhance the role of forests in the economy. He said that an absence of benefit sharing mechanisms, weak enforcement, demand for agricultural land and common land access are drivers of deforestation.

Solomon Haile, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ethiopia, presented on Ethiopia’s REDD+ safeguards. He introduced the Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment tool, the Environmental and Social Management Framework and the Resettlement Policy Framework. The latter, he said, will be triggered when a proposed REDD+ project would need to acquire land. Underscoring the importance of safeguards, Haile said although he does not expect the need for resettlement, it is important to be prepared.

During discussion, panelists responded to questions on civil society participation, government strategies to encourage public participation in tree planting and women’s involvement. Panelists said it is important to manage how people interact with forests and therefore people must be engaged in value addition to forest products. Yitebitu Moges said the idea of common access to land should be completely abolished in Ethiopia, because lands without defined property rights will simply be destroyed. Tsegaye Tadesse said the role of women and youth should be enhanced particularly regarding communication and participation. Solomon Haile said attention should be given to implementation of biodiversity conservation laws. One audience member underscored the centrality of local communities to the sustainability of any forest-related projects.

Yitebitu Moges, National REDD+ Coordinator, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ethiopia

Tsegaye Tadesse, Ethiopia Team, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI)

Anders Vatn, Counsellor, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia

+ More Information:

http://reddplusethiopia.files.wordpress.com/

+ Contacts:

Tefera Mengistu (Ethiopia) - teferamengistu@yahoo.com


Seizing Opportunity for Africa: Prioritizing Water in the New Climate Financing Mechanism Presented by: African Development Bank (AfDB)

Han Seung-soo, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Water and former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea

David Craig, Senior Advisor, Green Climate Fund (GCF)

Sheila Khama, Director, African Natural Resources Centre, AfDB

Chukwumerije Okereke, Principal Investigator of the African Adaptation and Loss and Damage Initiative, African Group of Negotiators (AGN)

Kurt Lonsway, Manager, Environment and Climate Change, AfDB

This event was moderated by Kurt Lonsway, Manager, Environment and Climate Change, AfDB and focused on Africa’s challenges and opportunities in the water sector particularly as they relate to climate change adaptation.

In his keynote address, Han Seung-soo, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Water and former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, said in climate change negotiations, mitigation always receives more attention than adaptation and he called for more balanced thinking. He urged for a holistic approach to sustainable development where disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation are both part of the agenda. He stated that the African Union Commission’s 2063 Agenda is a groundbreaking blueprint for Africa and he commended its vision for the continent. Africa is blessed, he said, with a blue economy and that water will be the key to the continent’s transformation. He urged participants to continue to work towards achieving a prosperous Africa.

Sheila Khama, Director, African Natural Resources Centre, AfDB, said regional governments can do much to improve water management by reconciling adaptation and mitigation and using water to reduce the adverse effects of climate change. She urged for integrated water resources management across borders.

Bai Mass Taal, Executive Secretary, African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), noted Africa is not starting from scratch regarding water and underscored the progress that AMCOW in particular has made saying, “we have gone very far.”

Chukwumerije Okereke, Principal Investigator of the African Adaptation and Loss and Damage Initiative, African Group of Negotiators (AGN), noted there is a major data gap in terms of knowing the number of adaptation projects in Africa. He recommended mandating a single body to keep track of funding for adaptation flowing into Africa. He also recommended that each African country form a national council for climate investment that includes donors, diplomats, NGOs and public servants from various ministries to act as an oversight mechanism.

David Craig, Senior Advisor, Green Climate Fund (GCF), said the GCF aims to provide 50% of its funding for adaptation, and therefore hopes to be a part of a shift towards adaptation. He stated the GCF aims to commit US$1.5 billion over the next 12 months, and said although the GCF is the “new kid on the block” regarding financing they are doing their best.

Collins Ihekire, Executive Secretary, Niger Basin Authority, highlighted that 46% of the Niger Basin is located in the driest region of the world. He said leaders of the Niger Basin countries have come together and recognized that the issues of the basin are trans-boundary. He said instead of forming new organizations that compete for funding the focus should be to fund and improve existing agencies.

Participants then discussed, inter alia: good adaptation practices and project design to ensure access to international climate funds, accreditation to the GCF and building capacity to gain accreditation.

+ More Information:

http://www.afdb.org/en/

+ Contacts:

Shoji Hikaru - h.shoji@afdb.org



Other Events

Living on the Edge: Saving West Africa's Coastal Assets Presented by: World Bank

Marie-Ségolène Royal, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, France

 

Andre Johnson, Minister of Environment and Forest Resources, Togo

Théophile Chabi Worou, Minister of Environment, Benin

Jamal Saghir, Director, Sustainable Development Department for Africa, World Bank

+ More Information:

http://www.worldbank.org/

+ Contacts:

Raffaello Cervigni (World Bank)- rcervigni@worldbank.org


Climate Change Agroecology, Nutrition, and Food Security:
Critical Lessons from Project Interventions in Sub-Saharan AfricaPresented by: Cornell University, International Food Policy Research Institute,
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Yves Martin-Prével, French Institute of Research for Development

Charles Nyandiga, Programme Advisor on Land Degradation and Sustainable Forest Management, UNDP

L-R: Allison M. Chatrchyan, Director, Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture; Johannes Lehmann, Professor,
Cornell University; Charles Nyandiga, Programme Advisor on Land Degradation and Sustainable Forest Management, UNDP;
and Yves Martin-Prével, French Institute of Research for Development

Johannes Lehmann, Professor, Cornell University

+ More Information:

http://climateinstitute.cals.cornell.edu

+ Contacts:

Allison Chatrchyan - amc256@cornell.edu


Around the Venue

Interpreters at the Africa Pavilion


The Africa Pavilion @ COP 21 Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org> is a special publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). This issue has been written by Dina Hestad and Brett Wertz. The Digital Editor is Liz Rubin. The Editor is Tomilola Akanle Eni-ibukun, Ph.D. <tomilola@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Funding for coverage of the Africa Pavilion at COP 21 has been provided by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and funders. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>. Electronic versions of issues of the Africa Pavilion @ COP 21 Bulletin can be found on the IISD Reporting Services website at http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop21/cdafrica-ap/. The IISD team at the Africa Pavilion at COP 21 can be contacted by e-mail at <brett@iisd.org>.

Funding for coverage of the Africa Pavilion at COP 21, has been provided by UNECA
UNECA