12 May 2020
African Group Responds to Postponement of COP 26
Tsavo East National Park, Kenya. Photo credit: Damian Patkowski/Unsplash
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The African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change issued a response to the postponement of COP 26, stating that the Group stands in solidarity with countries impacted by the pandemic and emphasizing the urgency for ambitious collective climate action.

The response urges developed countries to close the climate finance gap in 2020, and impels the UNFCCC to hold COP 27 in 2021 in Africa, as originally planned.

The African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) issued a response to the decision to postpone the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) to the UNFCCC due to the global COVID-19 crisis. The statement emphasizes the vulnerability of African countries to the negative impacts of climate change, calls on developed countries to agree on a path forward to close the climate finance gap in 2020, and stresses the importance of holding COP 27 in 2021.

Tanguy Gahouma-Bekale, AGN Chair and Vice-President of the Bureau of COP/CMP/CMA, states that the AGN stands in solidarity with countries affected by COVID-19, and stresses the importance for all nations to continue to build momentum for ambitious climate action.

Gahouma-Bekale highlights 2020 as “an important year for the completion of the rules of the Paris Agreement and the Communication of revised and updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as well as the start of the implementation of the Paris Agreement.” He laments the postponement due to COVID-19 of many events which are crucial to building political momentum before the sessions of the UNFCCC subsidiary bodies and COP 26.

The AGN emphasizes the urgency for all nations to take ambitious collective climate action at COP 26. Highlighting African countries’ particular vulnerability to the effects of climate change, the Group notes scientists have warned that the world has reached a “tipping point.” 

The AGN calls on developed countries to close the climate finance gap by the end of 2020 despite the postponement of the COP, in line with the commitment by developed countries to provide USD 100 billion per year by 2020 to support developing countries’ climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. However, the statement notes, a September 2019 report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that developed countries provided only USD 71.2 billion in climate finance to developing countries in 2017. 

The AGN also maintains that the UNFCCC should hold COP 27 in Africa in 2021, as originally planned, stating that the timing of the COPs “must be linked to the urgent need of addressing the climate emergency.” [AGN Press Release] [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources]

By Gabriel Gordon-Harper, Thematic Expert on Climate Change and Sustainable Energy

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