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African Parliamentarians advised to hold their governments to account for the commitments made on climate action 

African Parliamentarians advised to hold their governments to account for the commitments made on climate action 

African legislators who attended the Parliamentarians Dialogue at the Africa Climate Summit to advance the discourse on Renewable Energy, Green Growth, and Climate Finance Solutions have been tasked to hold their governments to account for the commitments made on climate action.

The Parliamentarians Dialogue held on 4th and 6th September 2023 during the Africa Climate Summit was to explore the role and potential contribution of parliaments to climate action.

It also served as a platform for parliamentarians to discuss various implementation pathways from the perspective of legislatures for the delivery of the commitments made during the Summit. Beyond legislative avenues for climate action, the Dialogue also sought to explore avenues for partnerships and collaborations between diverse stakeholders to expand African renewable energy and develop innovative green growth and climate finance solutions.

Participants at the meeting strongly advocated for the transition to renewable energy and for policies that encourage and accelerate the transition to clean and sustainable energy sources that align with Africa’s unique circumstances and respect the continent’s development agenda.

An African Parliamentarians’ Working Group on Climate Adaptation underscoring the importance of adaptation in the climate agenda was also established at the end of the Dialogue.

Rt. Hon. Dr. Moses M. Wetang’ula, EGH, MP, Speaker of the National Assembly of Kenya, in his address, urged for innovative solutions and for Africans to think differently, moving “from being a continent of despair to a continent of hope because the future is here in Africa”.

He also referred to the experiences and knowledge of vulnerable people who conclude that climate change is happening now. Reports from villages on the alteration of water bodies, forest cover, and irregular rainfall indicate that the climate has changed for the worse. Stating that “we live as if there is no tomorrow and pollute as if we have in abundance’’,

Rt. Hon. Dr. Wetang’ula underlined that human activities are a major contributor to climate change and therefore, charged parliamentarians to use their powers to influence the appropriate allocation of resources for adaptation and mitigation in their respective jurisdictions.

The climate crisis according to him must be dealt with fairly and equitably because Africa cannot suffer the collateral damage and misconduct of others.

On his part, the CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), Prof. Dr. Patrick Verkooijen, emphasised the potential of parliamentarians to be the architects of change and the adaptation advocates that the world needs.

Highlighting the need for African leaders to focus on the adaptation agenda, Prof. Verkooijen stressed the need to invest more in this sector, and in doing so, the people of Africa will remain steadfast. Referring to the journey of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) over the last 12 months, he acknowledged the leadership of the President of Kenya, H.E. William Samoei Ruto, in launching the largest adaptation program in the world.

Prof. Verkooijen welcomed the establishment of the African Parliamentarians Network for Climate Change Action (APNCA), which aims to strengthen the capacity of African parliamentarians to ensure effective oversight of the implementation of climate action, and assured the GCA of its full support for its parliamentary colleagues. He also envisioned the largest nature-based GCA office to be built in Kenya which would epitomise the adaptation agenda. He concluded by stating that “if Africa invests in adaptation and if you parliamentarians make this your top priority, not only Africa is unstoppable but also people of Africa who you represent will be unstoppable”.

Mr. Amjad Abbashar, Chief of the UNDRR Regional Office for Africa, referred to climate change as the largest social and economic threat in the world. Highlighting that climate-related disasters have doubled over the last 20 years.

According to him, the efforts of the UNDRR, as the custodian of the Sendai Framework, in tackling the crisis through, inter alia, the implementation of national resilience mechanisms and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) strategies.

He also underscored the importance of engaging legislators and ensuring enough resources are allocated to build global and national capacities in averting and minimising loss and damage. Indicating the Midterm Review of the Sendai Framework, he emphasised the necessity of developing course-correction mechanisms and multi-hazard early-warning systems to increase global access to disaster data.

By: Kwadwo BUABENG

inghananewstoday is a 24-hour new media company with a wide array of products including general news, politics, business, technology, and a specialized segment on water and sanitation (WASH) issues.

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