EAC reacts to the Paris Agreement ahead of Marrakesh

Photo Credit: Kateregga Dennis
The East African Community is composed of 6 countries with the newest member South Sudan that are economically, socially and culturally integrating as way of improving the wellbeing of its people. Agriculture is the largest sector in the region which is rain fed and its vulnerability to climate change is high. Making the issue of climate change very important to the region. A climate change policy has been developed to foster sustainable development through well organised mitigation and adaptation strategies. 

it was agreed to limit the global temperature below 2° Celsius and further to 1.5° Celsius. Where developing countries in the EAC were expected to develop a low carbon sustainable development strategy.  Keeping temperature below 2° Celsius should be the main priority of developing countries in the EAC community as most of its economic activities are climate change sensitive. The above to be achieved the burning of fossil fuels should cease by 2030 world over.

Stock - taking
This will be done every 5 years starting 2023 and in 2018 hold negotiations on how to direct efforts of parties in relation to progress towards the general carbon emissions reduction. This requires developing countries like EAC to submit National Determined Contributions (NDCs).  Developing countries want stock – taking to be overall while developed countries want it to be the aggregate.

A $100 billion a year worth of climate change financing sourced by developed countries for developing countries by 2020 with further financial commitment by 2025. Climate financing is giving hope to developing countries who are adversely affected by climate change yet do not have the resources to address the effects. There is need for the developed countries to share the resource burden as the problem (climate change) caused by them is being shared. This should help the EAC in its mitigation and adaptation strategies.  The Paris agreement was not binding and it did not show each individual country contribution, the $100 billion a year is not enough.

Paris agreement supports the strengthening of adaptive capacity and reduction of climate change vulnerability. It points out technology as an important tool in the implementation of adaptive actions. Using climate safe technology and capacity building in developing countries (EAC) will improve resilience to climate change.  The EAC countries are past mitigation any effort to promote adaptation is good news when they want to industrialise. Adaptation requires technology transfer which needs funds in order to have an impact on climate change.Global goal on adaptation is voluntary with no monetary or legal obligation which means developed countries can shift positions depending on their interest.

Loss and damage
Minimizing and averting loss and damage brought about by climate change was an important topic during the Paris agreement. They identified how developing countries can be assisted through Emergency preparedness, Early warning systems, Climate risk insurance. The agreement did not hold developed countries accountable which developing countries (EAC) feel are responsible.   EAC countries think that loss and damage can be dealt with at national level this will help to minimize the negative social and economic impacts.

There is a general consensus that climate change awareness should be at the forefront and more discussions at national level in all EAC countries.  Lack of transparency by policy makers and climate change negotiators and there is belief that developed countries wont honour their financial pledges. The EAC countries believe that forestry, energy, manufacturing and agriculture are their priority sectors and more should be done about them. 

By Kateregga Dennis, BA(ECON), Dip.IEL, Consultant

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