Toward Climate Justice for Africa

Public Debate
Fridays of the AU Commission
Toward Climate Justice for Africa
Opening Remarks by
Desire Assogbavi, Head of Oxfam Liaison Office to the African Union
Friday2African Union Commission, Friday 6 November 2015

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
All protocols observed.

Thank you for joining this public debate co-hosted by the African Union Commission and Oxfam’s Liaison Office to the African Union.
The climate is changing – and you would agree with me that this year has been the hottest on record!
For some of us this means less quality food, less choice, and higher prices.
For nearly a billion people, already living in poverty, it means more hunger, more disease etc…
The changing climate is putting our families and the things we love at risk – our homes, our land, and our food. Unpredictable weather is becoming the norm – destroying harvests, pushing food prices up and food quality down. In the world’s poorest countries, women, often most responsible for feeding their families, are being hit hardest by the impacts of climate change.
Next month, COP21 to be held in Paris, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, will, for the first time, in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the objective to keeping the global warming at least below 2°C. The new climate change treaty, if adopted will replace the Kyoto Protocol.
In Paris, our leaders will be making decisions that will affect us all – but especially those, whose lives and livelihoods are most at risk.
What will those decisions be?
We need an agreement to help Africa cope with the impacts of climate change. We need billions of dollars to help those already being hit by extreme weather – in order to save lives and livelihoods…
Today, we are meeting to provide input to those who will be seated at the table in Paris in a few weeks.
There will be governments, intergovernmental organisations, UN agencies, and civil society in these meetings. …
Is it reasonable to think that we can agree on a legally binding treaty on climate?
As one of the world’s most vulnerable continents to climate change, Africa must strategically be engaged in this process.
Today we will hear the latest on Africa’s negotiation position. We’ll also hear about Africa’s competing priorities.
We know that a number of African countries, including Ethiopia, are already stepping up the mark with visionary plans, to develop economies powered by clean energy…
For Oxfam, our Key issues in the Paris deal are going to be the following:

1 – Whether there will be sufficient cuts in emissions to slow global warming
2 – Will rich countries provide funding to help the developing world cope with the legacy of 150 years of huge economic progress based on fossil fuels?
3 – Can each country pay into a fund for the damages caused by climate change?

At the last negotiation meeting before Paris, in Bonn Germany in October, we started to see signals that countries have started to assume climate leadership – pledging the transformation of their economies. This made the news in China and the USA.

Ladies and Gentlemen, these are some of the questions on the table for our discussion today. Let’s hear from our panellists and then I look forward to a robust debate.

All suggestions and comments will hopefully, be noted and published as a Bulletin for AU member states to refer to before Paris.

I would like to thank you in advance all for your contributions.

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