For developing countries, it has been yet another disappointment. For others, there was still room for a credible agreement to tame the global climate crisis. The two scenarios are the hallmarks of the 27th UN Climate Conference or COP27, which ended in Egypt on Friday, Nov. 18.
The two-week gathering at the Red Sea resort provided a safety valve for the worsening climate calamities ravaging the world. But, as the high-profile event folded, there was every sign of dashed hopes to the chagrin of the developing countries. Activists say Africa is the most affected by climate change, given the severe drought that has added misery to millions of food-insecure communities.
“We came with high hopes. But unfortunately, the end of COP27 is an anti-climax,” said Mithika Mwenda.
The executive director of the Nairobi-based Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (Pacja) believed the meeting would materialize with concrete outcomes. But as he and scores of other activists from Africa and beyond prepared to exit Sharma el Sheikh, he said he felt betrayed. He is particularly pained by millions of people facing starvation in the eastern and Horn of Africa “because of climate-related droughts.”
Dr. Mwenda believes repeated promises made by developing countries, especially financing, to tame the crisis will never materialize. “This will continue to delay because decisions on loss and damage have been delayed, yet again, to 2024,” he said on Thursday in a statement to The Citizen. PACJA is one of dozens of civil society organizations (CSOs) from Africa present in Egypt to drum up support for climate justice for the suffering Africans.
The Alliance’s view is that this year’s UN Climate Conference ended with disappointment for the developing countries due to, among others, reluctance by the rich countries to remit the needed finances.
Augustine Njamnshi, another official from the organization, likened this year’s dashed hopes to COP26 held last year in Glasgow in the UK. “We (Africans) are leaving COP27 less assured of the goodwill of the global leaders, especially those in highly polluting industrialized countries,” he said.
Failure to admit Africa’s special needs contributed to the slow progress, delays, “and, in some cases, the lowering of ambition on issues pertinent to Africa.” In addition, deferred decisions on financing loss and damage to 2024 “with no guarantees of an outcome” downgraded the COP in the eyes of the Africans.
The lack of a clear trajectory for phasing out fossil fuels has seen some countries continue to use high-polluting fossil fuels. The CSOs, nevertheless, demanded big polluters honor their engagement to deliver the resources needed to address the climate crisis in Africa.