By Wallace Mawire
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and East African Community (EAC) secretariats in partnership with the government of Rwanda conducted a regional technical consultative workshop in Kigali on 8 to 9 November 2019 as part of preparations for COP25.
According to COMESA, the secretariats, both beneficiaries of the European Union’s ACP’s Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+), grant agreed to jointly organize a Pre-COP25 technical meeting to come up with position papers for submission to guide Africa in the negotiations during COP25 sessions.
The Pre-COP regional consultative meeting was 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 (AGN) to guide negotiations during the 25th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) also known as COP25 sessions set for December 2019 in Madrid, Spain.
Both the EAC and COMESA have an observer status to the UNFCCC processes and plan to participate in the forthcoming COP25 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 brought together negotiators and policy makers including National Climate Change Focal Points for UNFCCC and ministries responsible for EAC affairs and representatives from COMESA countries.
According to experts, it is important that African countries engage effectively in intergovernmental climate change negotiations, decision-making processes and eventual implementation of the decisions taken.
The two blocs are cognizant that Regional Economic Communities have a critical role to play in supporting solutions to trans-boundary issues related to a changing climate.
It is reported that during the meeting in Rwanda, issues of regional importance were identified with a clear road map of how to mainstream them into regional programmes and national implementation processes and opportunities for the Regional Economic Communities to deliver on the Paris Agreement.
Most of the EAC and COMESA member states are fully engaged in the on-going discussions and negotiations to find a lasting and sustainable solution to the challenge of climate change. They have all ratified the Paris Agreement of 2015 and submitted their ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) given their circumstances.
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.