Johannesburg- South African President Ramaphosa has said Africa should speak with one voice in support of full implementation of the United Nations Climate Change Convention and the related Paris Agreement.
He made the remarks while addressing the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change.
President Ramaphosa chaired the virtual meeting in his capacity as co-ordinator of the committee.
“We need a strong and well-co-ordinated Common African Position. We need to adopt key messages that encapsulate Africa’s aspirations and work together in the spirit of unity and solidarity as a Continent,” said President Ramaphosa.
He noted that Africa was one of the most affected regions by climate change in the world, as seen by increased incidence of drought, flooding, cyclones and other extreme weather events.
“Progress in addressing the global challenge of climate change can only be made when we all honour our mutual commitments and respect our common, but differentiated responsibilities,” President Ramaphosa said.
The South African leader also acknowledged the damage caused by COVID-19 on the continent, and noted that recovery efforts provided an ideal opportunity to direct Africa towards environmentally viable progression.
“While this pandemic is having a profound impact on sustainable development and our efforts to combat environmental degradation, it also presents opportunities to set our recovery on a path of transformative sustainable development. In this regard, many governments and regions are prioritising a green recovery as part of their stimulus packages to address the crisis.”
He said Africa needed climate change, environment and sustainable development initiatives to be implemented at a much larger scale to contribute to green recovery and for full realization of “the Africa We Want” as espoused in the AU’s Agenda 2063.
“It is absolutely imperative that everyone must contribute their fair share if we are to limit global warming to the agreed target of well-below 2°C, build the resilience of our economies and ensure the safety and well-being of our citizens. We need recognition of our different national circumstances and capacities as it is not realistic to expect us to meet the same timelines as developed countries to transition our economies and to disinvest from fossil fuels. Increased ambition for action must be matched with enhanced ambition for support,” he added.