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Africa Climate Change, Dev’t Conference Underway

Addis Ababa A Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa that prepares the countries for the UN Climate Action Summit to be held in September in New York and where they will learn of ambitious and concrete commitments from countries, non-state actors and development partners to raise ambition in tackling climate change is underway here in Addis Ababa.

The 8th Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa seeks to respond to the call by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on all leaders to come to the upcoming summit with concrete, realistic plans to enhance their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 45% over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050.

Opening the conference today, Water, Irrigation and Energy State Minister Frehiwot Woldehanna said climate change induced droughts have been affecting primarily the Horn of Africa and Ethiopia in particular.

The unusual El Nino of 2015/2016 caused severe droughts here in the Horn of Africa and we are still suffering from the residual impacts of that devastation, he pointed out.

Frehiwot stated that climate-induced frequent and intense droughts put also Ethiopia's hydropower-dominated energy security and reliability at risk with significant socio-economic impacts.

Ethiopia was one of the first countries to submit ambitious intended nationally determined contributions to climate action (INDCs) leading up to the Paris Agreement and was one of the first countries to ratify the agreement, the state minster added.

Rural Economy and Agriculture Director at AU Commission, Godfrey Bahiigigwa said all the 55 African member states have signed the Paris Agreement and 50 of them have ratified it.

Africa with least emission contribution is the most affected continent due to its low adaptation capacity for climate change impacts, he stated, adding that climate change is affecting various socio-economic developments of African countries.

The continent contributes fewer than 6 percent of emissions, with per capita emissions of only 0.8 tons per year, well below the global mean of 5 tons, and far lower than for other regions such as Europe and Asia, it was learned.

The three-day conference is being held under the theme Stepping Up Climate Action for a Resilient Africa: a Race We Can and Must Win.

The Climate Action Summit will be organized under nine action areas, one of which is the energy transition which would be co-chaired by Ethiopia and Denmark.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency