Africa climate negotiators in Nairobi to plan for COP28

High-level negotiators for Africa during climate summits are convening in Nairobi for a strategic meeting aimed at pushing Africa’s agenda at the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28).

Organised by the Africa Group of Negotiators Experts Support (AGNES), the three-day conference will highlight solutions that Africa needs to solve food insecurity fueled by climate change.

The experts will also discuss ways to rope in gender issues, especially for African women who are disproportionately affected by climate change.

The experts who are drawn from 33 African countries will also reflect on the 27th Conference of Parties, COP27, to iron out pending issues, so as to come up with a common position for Africa during a post-COP27 meeting that will happen in June.

Speaking to Dr George Wamukoya, team leader for the Africa Group of Negotiators Experts Support (AGNES), he told the Nation that it is time Kenya and Africa at large moved away from drawing up policies and embrace implementation.

“At international levels, farmers may not have the opportunity to present their issues but governments send representatives from ministries who come up with policies do. It is important to have those policies in action, not just on paper. Working at a local level helps us to be more resilient,” he said.

Already, the agricultural sector in the country has been affected by the ongoing drought. Going by the projections from the Kenya Meteorological Department, they foresee an extension of the dry season and the occurrence of depressed rainfall, plunging Kenya into a sixth failed season.

Pastoralists in the country are counting losses as most of their animals have died because of lack of water and pasture during the ongoing drought.

This points to one of the key outcomes of COP27, Loss and Damage, which refers to the irreparable impacts of climate change that could neither be salvaged by adaptation nor mitigation measures.

Despite countries applauding the step made in Egypt which saw the creation of a facility that will fund such losses and damages, Dr Wamukoya explained that leaders are yet to agree on the instruments of operationalisation.

“Our concern at the moment is whether we will be able to get the money and in what form. We envisage it to be a grant-based fund but our partners are pushing for insurance. This then means that people experiencing effects of climate change have to pay to be cushioned from such impacts. It will be unfair for countries like Kenya who contribute the least amount of Greenhouse gas emissions,” he explained.

“We want the money to be flexible enough and to be released fast,” he added.

It is during the June summit that lead negotiators will discuss the nitty-gritty of the hailed Loss and Damage facility.

Jackline Makhokha who is the Director of Gender at the Ministry Of Public Service, Youth And Gender Affairs told the Nation that Kenya is on track to ensuring women’s issues are well represented at the climate conferences. She is Kenya’s lead negotiator on gender matters.

“Climate change affects men and women differently, it is important for Kenyan women to sit at the negotiating tables and air their issues as they experience them,” she said.

“At the ministry, we are pushing to ensure that women who most of the time cook for their families, embrace clean cooking so that they can be part of the solution, and not the problem of cutting down trees for fuel,” she added.

Dr Wamukoya hinted that some of the submissions Africa wishes to present during this year’s Conference of Parties (COP) are to capitalise on Loss and Damage, ensure knowledge flow to farmers, push for adaptation finance and come up with a global goal on adaptation.

This however is not the final agenda for Africa as there will be a series of meetings before COP28 happens in the United Arab Emirates later in the year.

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