3rd African Parliamentarians Summit on Climate Policy and Equity kicks off in Midrand - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Wednesday, May 17, 2023

3rd African Parliamentarians Summit on Climate Policy and Equity kicks off in Midrand

The President of the Pan-African Parliament, H.E. Chief Fortune Charumbira on Tuesday, officially declared open, the 3rd African Parliamentarians Summit on Climate Policy and Equity at the seat of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) in Midrand, South Africa.

Held on the sidelines of the Second Ordinary Session of the Sixth Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament, the two-day Summit seeks to galvanize a critical mass of stakeholders capable of catalyzing broad support for pro-poor, just, equitable, locally led and science-based decisions in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) implementation and overall climate action. The high-level climate engagement will also identify a common African agenda in the Global Stock Take (GST) process and in the countdown to COP28, and the role parliamentarians can play.

In his opening address, the President of PAP, H.E. Chief Fortune Charumbira urged the Summit participants to go beyond terminologies and make concrete contributions to the fight against climate change.

He called on delegates not to dwell on the past but rather focus on ensuring that the Summit is a stepping stone to solutions on the devastating effects of climate change.

 “We need a strong institutional arrangement out of this summit and leadership must play a big role in this. Without leadership, nothing will be achieved. Let’s avoid repeating what we have said in the past. We need to interrogate why Development countries are not respecting what they have committed for” said Hon. Chief Charumbira.

Hon. Chief Chirumbira added that the conversations must be inclusive and that “We must ask whose voice is missing. We must be deliberate in bringing the missing voices onboard.”

In his speech, the Executive Director of Pan African Climate Justice Alliance and the Co-host of the Summit Dr. Mithika Mwenda, vowed that they will not stop reminding the World that Africa is the most vulnerable region to climate change, despite contributing the least to its causes.

“Indeed, the impacts of climate change as so vivid that we no longer need a scientist to warn us how things have changed - more frequent and intense droughts, floods, heat waves, storms, and other extreme weather events that threaten our food security, water availability, health, infrastructure, biodiversity, and peace.”

“We are also facing the loss and damage of our cultural and natural heritage, such as the glaciers of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya, and the coral reefs of the Indian Ocean. These impacts are not only undermining our efforts to achieve sustainable development and eradicate poverty, but also violating our human rights and dignity,” he said.

Also addressing the participants, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment (ARBE) of the African Union Commission H.E. Josefa Sacko, promised to work with the PAP as she underscored the vital role the continental parliament should play.

“African Parliamentarians have a great role to play especially as it relates to formulation and speedy passage of relevant climate change policies and climate bills at their various National Parliaments and ensuring such instruments are well implemented,” she said while reading a statement on behalf of H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of African Union Commission.

She also added that civil society organizations play critical roles in holding governments to account and supporting the implementation of climate change adaptation and mitigation activities as well as policy instruments at communities, sub-national and national levels.

She posited that Climate change has become an existential threat to Africa. “While Africa have contributed the least to the cause of climate change, accounting for less than 4% of global Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission, the continent bears the heaviest burden, partly as a result of having the least capacity to adapt. We are being punished for the sins of others.”

In his contribution, Chairperson of PAP’s Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Hon. Senator Didier Molisho Sadi, observed that as representatives of the people, parliamentarians have a crucial role to play in advancing climate action and ensuring that it is fair, equitable, just and inclusive, without leaving anyone behind. He added that this is particularly made urgent with the increasing demand for locally-led adaptation actions, which are paramount in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Hon. Sadi also underlined that climate change furthermore presents an opportunity to rethink and redesign continental’s agricultural systems, health and economic and practices.

“By adopting more sustainable and resilient methods, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance soil health, and improve water management. Moreover, by harnessing the potential of innovation and cooperation, we can develop and share solutions that benefit farmers, consumers, and the environment” concluded Hon. Sadi.

The Summit continues on Wednesday with the participation of the President of the Republic of Kenya and Chair of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC), HE. Dr. William Samoei Ruto who has arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa.

 H.E. Ruto was welcomed on arrival by the President of the Pan-African Parliament, H.E.Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira. Also present at O.R Tambo International Airport were members of the Bureau of the Pan-African Parliament and Members of the Kenyan delegation to the Continental Parliament.


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