Implications of COP 21
This trade brief reviews the outcomes of the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 held in Paris during December 2015. Africa’s role in these negotiations will be highlighted and the implications of this Agreement for Africa will be discussed.
The adoption of the Paris Agreement recognises that climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to humanity and the planet. To effectively combat climate change the widest cooperation between all countries is needed. Such participation is essential in formulating an effective and appropriate international response through accelerating the reduction in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Deep reductions in global emissions are an additional requirement to achieve the objectives of the COP 21.
The Agreement acknowledges that climate change is a common concern for human kind and that when Parties take action to address climate change they should respect, promote and consider their respective obligations to human rights, rights to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, rights of migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations as well as the right to development, gender equality and the empowerment of women and intergenerational equity.
The Agreement specifically emphasises the needs and concerns of developing country Parties. It emphasises the serious and rather urgent need to address the significant gap between the aggregate effect of the mitigation pledges of Parties in terms of global annual emissions of GHG by 2020 and the aggregate emission pathways consistent with holding the increase in global average temperatures well below the 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels as targeted in the Agreement.
Further recognition is given to the urgent need of enhancing the provision of finance, technology and capacity-building support by developed country Parties to enable the enhanced pre-2020 action of developing country Parties. Furthermore, the promotion of universal access to sustainable energy in developing countries, in particular Africa, through the enhanced deployment of renewable energy was acknowledged.
It is also agreed to uphold and promote regional and international cooperation for a stronger and more ambitious climate action plan by all Parties and non-Party stakeholders, including civil society, the private sector, financial institutions, cities and other subnational authorities including local communities and indigenous people. This Agreement recognises and supports the fragile network of peoples who are all directly affected by climate change and without whose participation it will surely fail.
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