The 58th session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SB 58) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has come and gone but what remains to be seen is the extent to which conclusions arrest the worrying crises of climate change already felt across the world, more disturbingly in Africa. Climate champions will also be measuring the extent to which the visible concerns of indigenous people and frontline communities are accommodated both in policies and in implementation. As affirmed by UN Climate Change Executive Director Simon Stiell, the world is still far apart on many critical issues. There is a massive tussle around the global stocktake, climate finance, loss and damage, and adaptation, among many others. Sad enough, Africa is perpetually at the receiving end.
Africa, the continent that contributes the least to the climate crisis, is the one that suffers associated crises the most. Nothing better describes injustice. The continent will still have to wait for the outcomes of collective promises on mitigation, response measures; adaptation, loss, and damage, climate finance, skills exchange host, and capacity building if the Paris Agreement goals of limiting temperature will ever be met. Concrete steps and actionable plans remain a wish.
The insistence of the African Group of Negotiators on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) as a solid foundation for climate ambitions is welcomed by the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA). We believe that the deliverables of GGA must include targets and indicators that will accommodate garnered concerns of member states. Similarly, we wish that adaptation funds should exclude polluting corporations and must not endorse continuous degradation of our already depleted environmental assets but must in its entirety reduce the increasing adverse impacts, risks and vulnerabilities often associated with climate change and suffered by the frontline communities. We recommend that the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of African countries must detail in-country adaptation plans, implementation strategies, and climate hazard early warning and response systems among other crucial components. CAPPA wishes that the adaptation framework is enshrined in the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities such that it will recognize countries’ differences and allow unhindered expression of shared capacities.
In Nigeria, the present government, by its manifesto, is not unaware of the environmental impacts of crude oil extraction, particularly as it affects the once fertile lands of the Niger Delta and its culturally rich people. Though the new government headed by Bola Tinubu outrightly admits that crude oil is not the solution to Nigeria’s economic problems, it still went ahead to promise an increase in crude oil production to 2.6mmbpd by 2027 and 4mmbpd by 2030 with a plan to leverage accrued funds to fund massive industrialization and infrastructural development. But who cares about host communities? Who cares about those whose lands, food systems, cultural heritage and livelihood are now severely threatened and massively encroached upon? In the spirit of synergy and the needed embrace of the global goal of adaptation, we urge the government to fully implement the Host Community Development Trust which mandates greater assistance and cooperation by oil companies with host communities, particularly in the areas of impact assessment, recovery and social rehabilitation as contained in their manifestoes and expressly provided for in the recently passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
It is in considering this that we demand that the Global Goal on Adaptation consider the plights of frontline communities, support skills exchange along renewable energy options, green economic plans, and Just Energy Transition so that fossil fuels are phased out across Africa. We ask that false claims that are currently being advanced as solutions to climate change give way to indigenous approaches and that Africa exclude fossil fuels corporations and their allies from its climate policies and actions, as well as implementation of such plans.