President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has arrived in Sharma el-Sheikh in Egypt as the leader of Ghana’s delegation to the World Leaders’ Summit of the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference (COP 27), scheduled to take place from today to November 18.
The COP 27 Summit is one of the largest gatherings of world leaders to accelerate actions towards the goals of the Paris Agreement on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
President Akufo-Addo, who left Accra last Saturday, is accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey; the Minister of Energy, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh; the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Kwaku Afriyie; the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor, and officials from the Presidency and the Foreign Ministry.
The President will return to Ghana on Friday, November 11, 2022, and in his absence, the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, shall, in accordance with Article 60(8) of the Constitution, act in his stead.
COP27 takes off
More than 100 African Heads of State and Government will join over 45,000 participants at the COP 27.
Most leaders arrived at the summit venue over the weekend.
On the eve of the two-week global event, Egypt’s Presidency last Saturday set the tone for the gathering with the illumination of the North African country’s historic pyramids (tombs of great kings).
It lit up the Khafre Pyramid, one of the three ancient pyramids of Giza that date back 4,500 years, ahead of the start of the global climate conference.
It will start with the Climate Implementation Summit that will bring together over 100 world leaders.
Experts in the climate change space say the COP in Egypt, which has been described as “make or break” because of the pertinent issue of loss and damage, will focus on turning pledges into action for the benefit of future generations.
In the coming weeks, the Climate Action agenda to be discussed during COP27 will focus on bringing the world together for implementation to ensure a just and sustainable future for all.
As the leader of Ghana’s delegation, President Akufo-Addo will deliver a statement on Ghana’s position on Climate Change, as well as measures put in place to combat the threat it poses.
A statement issued by the Presidency said the President would also deliver five separate statements on efforts Ghana was making to protect its forests and oceans and sustainable energy and the energy transition and also participate in the Africa Adaption Acceleration Summit, being held on the sidelines of the COP 27.
He will then move to New York to chair the High Level UN Security Council debate convened by Ghana, to take place on November 10, 2022, as part of the programme of work for Ghana’s Presidency of the council for the month of November.
Africa’s united voice
Meanwhile, ahead of the summit, a consortium of civil society organisations (CSOs) from Africa is strongly advocating that financing adaptation, loss and damage and honouring climate finance pledges, participation and inclusion be made pertinent for this year’s United Nations Conference on Climate Change(COP27) to be successful.
Additionally, it wants efforts that will advance just transitions and technology transfer to receive prominence at COP 27.Known as the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), the consortium of more than 1,000 organisations from 51 African countries stressed that it was only when the developed countries honoured their climate financing pledges to countries in Africa that the latter would be able to implement the nationally determined contributions(NDC); plans which ran into billions of dollars.
At a side event held in Sharma El-Sheikh yesterday, the consortium said it would hand over its position paper to the UN Framework Convention on ClimateChange (UNFCCC) Secretariat and parties(countries) from the West.
“We have outlined our expectations. It is up to the delegates to decide on the nature this COP should take; but for us as Africans, issues we have highlighted and placed before the UNFCCC Secretariat will mean the success or failure of this climate summit in Egypt,” Dr Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Director of the PACJA, said.
He indicated that with its diverse membership drawn from grass-roots, community-based organisations, faith-based organisations, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders, PACJA had a shared vision to advance a “people-centred, right-based, just and inclusive approach” to addressing climate and environmental challenges facing humanity and the planet.
Dr Mwenda said the success or otherwise of COP 27 would be dependent on how those pertinent issues were addressed by the global leaders.
AGN is focused
The Chairperson of the Africa Group of Negotiators (AGN), Ephraim Shitima, said the group was “well briefed” from its interaction with CSOs and other stakeholders about the African agenda at COP 27.
“After several meetings in Zambia, Ethiopia and Egypt, Africans are of one voice; they need the recognition of Africa as a continent with special needs and circumstances. They need financing of adaptation and loss and damage,” he said. Additionally, the Head of the African Climate Policy Centre, James Murombedzi, said he envisaged COP 27 to emerge differently from previous COPs. “COP 27 should be a de-carbonised COP for everyone and industrialisation for Africa,” he said.
The Legal Advisor to the AGN, Prof. Seth Osafo, observed that the issues at stake in COP 27 included the honouring of climate finance pledges made in Copenhagen in 2009 by the Group of 20 most developed countries (G20).
He noted that as a group, the African negotiators were ready to advance the African agenda.
That agenda, he said, included the continued demand by the continent for the G20 countries to deliver on theUSD$100 billion a year pledge that was yet to be honoured.