Members of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) have expressed fears that Africa is losing out already at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) holding in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt from November 6 to 18.
COP27 has been called an African COP. However, PACJA which is a network of more than 1000 organizations from 48 countries in Africa, has said that for the fact that the Special Needs and Circumstances consideration for Africa has been dropped from the agenda, meaning that the issue will not even be discussed at COP27, Africa is already losing out on the negotiations at the conference of parties.
Speaking at a press conference at the venue of COP27, the Executive Director of PACJA, Mithika Mwenda, said that “All the scientific reports recognize Africa as the most impacted continent by climate change. Africa has contributed very little to the global emissions.”
He added that when the issue of ‘climate debt’ arises Africa is excluded from the decisions. Mwenda urged African negotiators at COP27 not to relent in putting forward Africa’s interests because according to him, “this is a fight for our livelihoods and for our lives.”
Also speaking to the issue, Lucky Abeng, a young digital activist member of PACJA, said the organization was displeased with the dropping of the consideration of Africa as a continent of special needs and circumstances. “This issue we have followed since 2015. We are disappointed to see that COP27 which we have termed an African COP could not also adopt Africa as a continent of special needs and circumstances.
“We did this press briefing to further show our displeasure over what the negotiations are going to be about. We are already considering COP27 to be a failed COP, just like COP26 in Glasgow.”
The young Nigerian climate justice activist added, “As one of the young people representing the young digital activists of PACJA, we came here with high expectations. 2023 was declared the year of the youth by the Commonwealth. Africa is a youthful continent. If the negotiations do not go in favor of young people, it is important that we also express our displeasure. With job losses, we are continually disadvantaged if you compare us with our counterparts in the global north. This further reiterates the fact that we are already at a disadvantage as young people.”
This story was produced as part of the 2022 Climate Change Media Partnership, a journalism fellowship organized by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network and the Stanley Center for Peace and Security. It was first published by the Nigerian Tribune on 7 November 2022 and has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Banner image: Members of PACJA at the press conference at COP27 on Monday November 7, 2022 / Credit: PACJA.