African Civil Society Launches Joint Position Paper on Climate Demands Ahead of COP28

African Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have released a joint position paper outlining 7 key demands on Climate Adaptation and Loss & Damage issues.

This comes ahead of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) scheduled to take place in Dubai at the end of this month.

Earlier, over 200 CSOs sent a letter to the COP28 president urging him to prioritize a strong climate adaptation agenda and to ensure a firm commitment to its implementation.

The release of the position paper follows the recent publication of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Adaptation Gap Report of 2023, which highlights the global underfunding of adaptation efforts and the lack of preparedness by countries to take action.

The report estimates that countries need approximately US$387 billion per year to address their domestic adaptation priorities.

While launching the common position paper, the CSOs stated the regrettable absence of tangible progress in adaptation and climate finance post-COP27, despite the establishment of the loss and damage fund.

The paper raises concerns over the inadequacy of post-COP27 discussions, including the Paris Climate Finance Summit, particularly in crucial areas such as finance, gender equity, and agriculture for Africa.

Ongoing disputes over Loss and Damage funding, governance, and eligibility further cast uncertainty over COP28 outcomes. The CSOs cite the following key demands and areas to watch at COP28 in the position paper:

Operationalising the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA): The CSOs demand a comprehensive framework for the GGA at COP28.  They state that the GGA must be clear, quantitative, and have holistic targets to facilitate adaptation action and enhance parties’ ability to respond to adverse climate impacts.

Strengthening Transformative Adaptation Priorities: African CSOs demand that COP28 prioritises support and implementation of national adaptation plans, ensuring alignment with the Global Goal on Adaptation and African needs.

Increase in Reliable and Quality Adaptation Finance: COP28 must address global and African adaptation finance gaps. The African CSOs demand the fulfilment of commitments to double adaptation funding, setting new targets, reforming the financial system, and prioritising quality, and accessible finance. They stress the need to incentivise financing options favourable to Africa, such as debt relief, tax waivers, and grants.

Operationalising Loss and Damage (L&D): The CSOs insist that COP28’s success hinges on funding and operationalising the Loss and Damage (L&D) fund. They call for the launch of technical assistance through the Santiago Network on L&D and ensuring effective governance for the L&D fund, serving both the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement.

The Global Stocktake (GST): African CSOs demand that the GST must course correct Climate Action and respond decisively to the IPCC’s findings. They highlight the urgent need to prioritise closing the adaptation finance gap and doubling adaptation finance while recognising the link between adaptation, sustainable development and acknowledging Africa’s vulnerability highlighted in the IPCC report.

Integrating Climate Adaptation and Resilience into Just Transition Work Programme: The CSOs demand that a just transition for adaptation is essential in Africa and must integrate the principles of equity, increased focus on social vulnerability, and dimensions of justice into the Just Transition Work Programme. They call for social protection programs to include adaptation to reduce vulnerability while promoting justice and equity.

Progress Towards Resilient and Just Food and Agriculture Systems: The CSOs demand that COP28 addresses climate change impact on food systems at all levels. They emphasise the vital need to shift to farmer-led, rights-based models, promoting gender equity, agroecology, food sovereignty, and protecting Indigenous knowledge.

By launching the common position paper, the African CSOs passionately call for the urgent need for decisive actions and commitment at COP28 to address the disproportionate vulnerability of the continent to climate change. They cite the recommendations presented in the paper as a reflection of a collective call for a sustainable, just, and resilient future for Africa and the global community.

Amy Giliam Thorp, a seasoned advocate, emphasized the need for ambitious targets, signaling a commitment to safeguarding people, livelihoods, and ecosystems. Her voice reverberated through the halls, urging for tangible actions fostering adaptation.

Lina Ahmed stood firm in her stance, calling for substantial capitalization for the Loss and Damage fund. Her words echoed, demanding pledges reaching into the billions to meet the pressing needs, all while ensuring transparency and aligning commitments with requirements.

Bridget Mugambe, a beacon for food sovereignty, championed agroecology, challenging the prevailing norms. Her vision painted a landscape where farmers took center stage, integrating indigenous wisdom to empower those sustaining our food systems.

Jane Lumumba’s voice cut through, stressing the indispensable role of the private sector in fortifying adaptation efforts. She advocated not just for fleeting trends but for enduring impacts rooted in collaboration and fortitude.

Mwandwe Chileshe’s words resonated deeply, highlighting the gaping adaptation finance gap. She underscored the urgent need for transparency, a transformation in global financial architecture, ensuring Africa wouldn’t be ensnared in cycles of debt but instead transformed into a breadbasket.

Dr. Darlington Sibanda, a beacon of climate insight, emphasized the need to recognize the vast costs of climate-related loss and damage in developing nations. His call for the operationalization of the loss and damage fund echoed the collective sentiment: action cannot be delayed.

At COP28, these voices coalesced into a call for urgency, demanding not just acknowledgment but tangible steps forward.

Their collective position paper wasn’t merely a document; it was a plea for action, a roadmap merging climate action and biodiversity, a clarion call for a future where resilience and sustainability were not just buzzwords but a lived reality. And so, the world listened, poised on the precipice of change, ready to rewrite the future in the ink of collective determination and unwavering resolve.

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