PAN AFRICAN CLIMATE JUSTICE ALLIANCE Urges African Leaders to REJECT Copenhagen Accord




We convey our heartfelt thanks and support to the African Ministers and Negotiators who stood for and defended the interests of the countries and continent of Africa during the climate negotiations in December 2009. We celebrate your commitment, clarity, courage, and your willingness to defend our lives and livelihoods, those of our children and the future generations of Africans.

In particular, we express our support for the science-based African position submitted to the UNFCCC Secretariat by Algeria on 12 December 2009 on behalf of the Africa Group at Copenhagen and embodied in the documents entitled:

  • The Copenhagen Decisions: Submission on the outcome of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action under the Convention; and
  • The Copenhagen Decisions: Submission for the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) for the amendment of the Kyoto Protocol.

These documents – formally endorsed and submitted by Ministers and senior officials representing countries across our continent – reflect the interests of all Africans, and of vulnerable countries everywhere. We call on all African countries to support and strengthen these positions in negotiations during 2010 that can lead towards a successful outcome in Mexico.

We also express our support for the background paper entitled “Defining a Science-Based African Position on Climate Change”. We believe that Africa’s position must be based on the best possible analysis of the efforts required to keep the continent safe, to ensure the burden of mitigating and adapting to climate change is fairly shared, and to secure the financing and technology required by African and other developing countries. To this end, in our view, the elements of the package to be agreed in Mexico must “add up” to a deal that ensures Africa’s future.

We reiterate the demands set out in the African Climate Justice Manifesto. As we stated in that document “Africa must sign no suicide pact. Our longer-term interests must under no circumstances be sacrificed to short-term financing or to “beggar thy neighbour” outcomes that pursue the interests of some developing countries at the expense of others.”

In this context, we reiterate our deep concerns about the way the December 2009 UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen was conducted including the decision by the Danish Government and a small group of countries to negotiate the so-called "Copenhagen Accord" outside formal UNFCCC proceedings, and the attempt by this group of countries to circumvent agreed UN procedures and impose on all UNFCCC Parties an outcome agreed by a select few. We join you in calling for the two-track negotiating process under the UNFCCC, and call upon all Parties to strengthen their work within the UN system to address climate change.

The Copenhagen Accord, thus, raises serious issues that must be considered by all African countries when deciding how to respond to it:

  • The Accord’s 2 degree global goal threatens Africa with catastrophic harm. Based on IPCC analysis, 2 degrees of global warming implies over 3 degrees of warming in all regions of Africa. We concur with Reverend Desmond Tutu that “a global goal of about 2 degrees C is to condemn Africa to incineration and no modern development”.
  • The proposed review of the Accord’s global goal to 1.5 degrees would occur too late — well after the date by which global emissions would have to peak and decline in order to secure this goal and to safeguard Africa’s future.
  • The Accord fails to include appropriate provisions to enable developing countries to adapt to climate change. It calls for “adequate” financial resources, for example, but fails to provide the same. The Accord reflects the inherent failure of an exclusive process to represent the interest of vulnerable countries that it excludes. An inclusive process under the UN is the only safeguard for poor and vulnerable countries.
  • The proposed inclusion of “bottom up” Annex I emission reduction pledges threatens the establishment of further commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, fails to require a science-based aggregate target, and threatens to shift the burden of mitigating climate change to developing countries. We call for a science-based, not a pledge-based, approach to setting Annex I targets.
  • The Accord would commit developing countries to new obligations regarding mitigation actions (which must be listed in an Annex), and for their measurement, reporting and verification. It does not link these to the provision of adequate finance and technology. Nor does it include new obligations on MRV for developed countries.
  • The proposed $10 billion in short-term financing for the period 2010 to 2012 is hopelessly inadequate. Some developed countries have already confirmed that this will not be “new and additional” and over and above ODA. Developing countries, which are already suffering billions in climate-related damage, will have their ODA budgets raided to address climate change. The African Group has called for short-term financing of around $400 billion, with $150 billion immediately available as “special drawing rights”. We should not retreat on our demands.
  • The proposal of $100 billion in longer-term financing is not a commitment to “provide” it from public sources, but merely to “mobilize” finance. $100 billion is considerably lower than the amount proposed by the European Union ($100 billion Euro is over $140 billion USD). Assessments by the United Nations and other organizations confirm that much higher levels of financing will be required. Based on a goal of stabilizing concentrations of carbon dioxide below 350ppm – a goal essential to the survival and prosperity of Africa – the Africa Group has called for longer term financing by Annex I countries equivalent to 5% of their GDP.
  • The Accord calls for a Copenhagen Green Climate Fund but provides no indication of whether it will operate under the authority of the Conference of Parties. The Accord fails to address a range of factors called for by the African Group and other members of the G77 and China.
  • The Accord’s provisions on a range of issues – including adaptation, REDD, technology and finance – are inadequate.
  • The Accord includes terms that are legally unclear and, in some cases, legally void. A document agreed outside the UNFCCC process, for instance, cannot require the UNFCCC Conference of Parties or Secretariat to undertake certain actions. Agreeing to these terms introduces legal uncertainty into the UNFCCC process.

Indeed, in our view the process by which the Accord was agreed (and its future role) risks establishing a dangerous precedent within the UN system. It risks creating a parallel system that may undermine the UNFCCC process and agreement on a deal under the UN that will truly safeguard Africa’s future.

Based on these concerns, we encourage the countries of Africa to join their counterparts in other regions – including small island states such as Tuvalu — in rejecting the Accord. We support the statement by the representative of Tuvalu in Copenhagen that the future of his country would not be sold for “30 pieces of silver”.

At a minimum, we call on our leaders to adopt a “wait and see” attitude to the Accord. They must ensure that the Copenhagen Accord will not prejudice Africa’s negotiating position, or prejudge the outcome of the UNFCCC negotiations. African leaders must seek clarification of the relationship between the Accord and the UNFCCC process, and of those terms in the Accord that are legally uncertain or void. And they must ensure that Annex I countries deliver on their pledged emission reductions and their commitments to new and additional short-term financing.

A “wait and see” attitude is particularly important in light of recent reports that some developed countries (such as Australia) will not be submitting ambitious targets, but rather intends to retreat to much lower offers. It is also important in light of reports that some countries (such as the United Kingdom) intend to reclassify existing ODA as climate finance, rather than provide new and additional financing. If this is the trend among developed countries, what value is there in this Accord?

We call for a detailed evaluation by our Parliaments of the Copenhagen meeting, the African negotiating position, as well as the terms of the Copenhagen Accord. We believe that appropriate guidance and oversight by elected representatives will strengthen the negotiating leverage of our delegations, raise public awareness about climate change, improve the prospect of African unity, and reduce the prospect that offers of finance and other inducements will undermine African solidarity and divide developing countries.

We further call for a detailed evaluation of the role of the African Union (AU) in the UNFCCC negotiations, AU’s proposal in Copenhagen including the expression of support by Ethiopia on behalf of the AU for the Copenhagen Accord. We call on you to strengthen cooperation during 2010 and ensure AU’s role is spelt out clearly in relation to AMCEN, Africa Group and other institutions.

We believe that all African institutions and all Africans have a role to play in addressing climate change. We hope that the 14th Summit of the African Union will give adequate impetus and solidify Africa’s resolve to ensure that the UNFCCC-COP16 in Mexico delivers a fair, adequate and legally binding outcomes.

Signed this 1st Day of February 2010 at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


~ by Cory Morningstar on February 2, 2010.

One Response to “PAN AFRICAN CLIMATE JUSTICE ALLIANCE Urges African Leaders to REJECT Copenhagen Accord”

  1. Great to see African countries standing together. I predicted before Copenhagen that without a strong agreement, this could lead to more African unity and even a rebirth of Pan-Africanism.

    If African countries stand together, especially with other third world nations, they could force the west to reduce emissions by denying us resources. The US can’t invade and bomb everyone, after all. Besides, if they were to continue to sell oil to the west, this would be like selling an invader bullets for their guns. Without the oil, we can’t continue to increase carbon emissions.

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