Lagos, Nigeria - A UN official has called for a robust political will
and concerted effort by African countries in tackling the adverse
effects of Climate Change.
The Human Development Report (HDR) 2007/2008, launched in various world capitals Tuesday under the theme: "Fighting climate change: Human solidity in a divided World," warned that the poorest countries most vulnerable citizens, including those in Africa "will suffer the earliest and most damaging setbacks, even though they have contributed least to the problem."
In an interview with PANA following the Africa Regional launch of the Report in the Nigerian capital city of Abuja by President Umaru Yar'Ardua, the UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria, Alberic Kocou, noted this was not the time for "shame or blame," but for the international community to assume its responsibilities in addressing a human development challenge of the 21st Century.
While the rich countries, the largest polluters should bear the greatest responsibility in addressing the negative impacts of Climate Change, he said "Africa must act in unison and speak with one voice, especially at the upcoming Bali (Indonesia) negotiations," to put in place a new post-Kyoto climate change regime.
According the UNDP official, it is not so much a case of lack of technology or being ill-equipped to deal with the consequences of climate change, as the capacity and willingness by all concerned to muster the political will to act in concert.
"Failure to act now will not only prove costlier but we may not have a planet to call our own in the future," Kacou warned, adding that in going for the negotiations, African Ministers of the Environment, should be accompanied by experts versed in environmental issues, to effectively push the African agenda.
He also stressed that national advocacy campaigns and programmes must follow the regional launches, with the message of cleaner environment taken to the grassroots, and for the promotion of environment-friendly best practices at all levels.
The UNDP HDR 2008/2008 Report has Kevin Watkins as the Lead Author, with special contributions from the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as well as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Mayor Michael Bloomberg of the City of New York.
The report noted that special multilateral finance mechanisms such as the Least Developed Countries Fund and the Special Climate Change Fund had fallen short on delivery, recording just about US$26 billion.
The report estimates that efforts at mitigating the negative impacts of Climate Change and boosting the realization of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in poor countries would require at least "new and additional" annual finance of 86 billion US dollars by 2016.
While acknowledging that this might look an ambitious target, given that a number rich countries had not made good their 0.07 per cent GDP pledged contributions, Kacou is however, optimist that the target would be met if all the stakeholders exhibited the necessary commitment and political will.
He cited some positive policy shifts by some rich nations, such as the US, adding that Spain, Denmark and France had also shown strong commitment on the 0.07 per cent contribution even as the deadline of 2015 draws nearer.
In Africa, the UN official said Nigeria had shown a good example in its declaration of zero-tolerance for gas flaring programmed to take effect from 2008.
But on the whole, he said Africans and their governments must act by raising the level of energy consciousness, changing their mindset, reducing energy consumption and imbibing the culture of environment friendly practices at home, at work and in agriculture.
"If we do not sacrifice now, the consequences would be far greater in the future," Kacou warned, and called for the cooperation of all stakeholders, including the media, in scaling up the campaign and advocacy efforts against Climate Change negative impacts.
Launching the Report in Abuja, President Yar'Ardua noted that the "adverse effects of Climate Change have not only impacted negatively on the capacity of African countries to achieve the MDGs, they have also emerged as serious obstacles to combating poverty on the continent."
In his speech, Gilbert Houngbo UNDP Regional Director for Africa, warned that "if effective mitigation efforts are not put in place… the implications for sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly 550 million people reside, and for other developing regions of the world will be a reversal in advances in the areas of health, education and poverty-reduction."
The Abuja launch, attended by senior government officials including ministers and State governors, as well as parliamentarians, environmentalists, civil society representatives, and members of the diplomatic community, was followed by a post-launch dialogue involving the media, environmentalists, environmentalists and academics.
Vovler a la lista <<<<<