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NIAS Africa Weekly #92&93 | COP 28 and Africa

  NIAS Africa Team

Africa Weekly #92&93 Vol. 2, No.46 & 47
19 December

COP28 and Africa: Priorities and Initiatives
Nithyashree RB

Between 30 November and 12 December, the COP (Conference of Parties) 28, the 28th annual global-level gathering focusing on climate action, was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The African Group of Negotiators (AGN) chaired by Zambia negotiated on behalf of the African continent. Some of the notable African leaders who were present in COP28 were Senegalese President Macky Sall, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kenyan President William Ruto.

Africa is disproportionately affected by climate change despite contributing minimal global emissions. Several African countries are vulnerable to climate change as they lag in implementing adaptation measures and building resilience. Africa’s priorities for COP28 revolve around crucial issues including energy transition and funds. 

Africa’s priorities in COP28
Before COP28, the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN), the Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa and the Africa Climate Summit set the tone in forging an African Common Position on Climate Change for COP28. The Chair of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN), Ephraim Mwepya Shitima, proposed six major priorities on which the African Common Position was based. They included accelerated climate finance, global stocktake, adaptation, operationalise loss and damage fund, just energy transition and the grant of special needs and circumstances status to Africa. 

First, Africa’s energy dilemma. According to Al Jazeera, 600 million Africans have no access to electricity and 900 million lack access to clean cooking methods. While COP28 discussed the need to transition away from fossil fuels, African countries argue for accelerating fossil fuel production and reinvesting the gains in green energy. African countries reason that the developed countries have utilised fossil fuels and hence they too should be granted an opportunity. However, despite gaining from oil, countries like Nigeria failed to reinvest in green energy. AGN suggest that developed countries cease investing in fossil fuels and let developing countries use and invest in fossil fuels. 

Second, Africa’s climate finance disparity. In COP26, developed countries renewed a 2009 pledge that promised USD 100 billion in annual climate finance for developing countries. In 2020, only USD 83 billion was provided. Africa needs over USD 500 billion to achieve adaptation measures by 2030 while only USD 11 billion was delivered in 2020. According to Brookings, Africa received 20 per cent of global adaptation finance flows in 2021-2022 compared to the 45 per cent received by the Asia Pacific. According to the European Centre for Development Policy Management, the climate finance gap in Africa is between USD 200 to 400 billion annually through 2030. 

Initiatives and collaborations in COP28
At COP28, several initiatives were launched including the establishment of green banks, greenhouse gas trading systems, public-private partnerships, transformative financing measures such as green bonds and sustainability-linked instruments and new funding pledges. 

First, loss and damage fund and climate finance commitments. The EU pledged USD 245 million, the UK pledged USD 50.5 million, the US pledged USD 17.5 million and Japan pledged USD ten million towards the loss and damage fund. Some of the African Development Bank's (AfDB's) initiatives include the establishment of green banks which have the potential to raise USD 1.5 billion in climate financing by 2030 beginning in Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Morocco and Egypt; the launch of the Climate Action Window to mobilise USD four billion towards climate adaptation to 37 low-income African countries; Africa Climate Risk Insurance Facility which will provide climate impact insurance to farmers. 

Second, advancement in sustainable development initiatives. Other major developments include the Just Energy Partnership between the US, EU, UK, France, Germany and South Africa, the establishment of advanced warning systems for floods, droughts, cyclones, and harvests in 20 African countries, and the announcement of the new Emerging Market Climate Action Fund (EMCAF) by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI). Several African countries declared new renewable energy projects such as Ethiopia and Sierra Leone’s wind farm initiatives supported by the UAE and the UK respectively. Angola announced a solar plant that can provide electricity to 90,000 homes supported by the UAE. Tunisia pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2050. Uganda announced a 20-megawatt solar project aided by the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund. Nigeria announced that it will launch 100 electric buses.  

Third, public-private partnerships and initiatives. Several public-private partnerships were also announced at COP28. African and Middle Eastern leaders launched the USD ten billion SAFE initiative by the Green Growth Institute to combat food insecurity. Multilateral Development Bank (MDBs) such as AfDB, the Islamic Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Fund for Agricultural Development pledged aid to develop Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs). 

5 December - 19 December
Anu Maria Joseph and Narmatha S

United Arab Emirates is accused of providing support to RSF
On 28 November, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of providing support to the Rapid Support Forces (RAF). It stated that the UAE was involved in the war, supplying war materials to the RSF. In a video circulated by Reuters, General Yaasir al-Attah stated that they have information from military intelligence that the UAE is sending planes to support the militants. He added that the UAE is supplying RSF through Uganda, Central African Republic, Chad and then to Sudan. The UAE responded: "UAE has consistently called for de-escalation, a ceasefire and the initiation of diplomatic dialogue in Sudan.” ("Sudanese general accuses UAE of supplying paramilitary RSF," Reuters, 28 November 2023)

UN terminates mission in Sudan
On 1 December, the UN Security Council voted to end its mission, UNITMAS, in the war-torn Sudan. 14 members voted to end the mission while Russia abstained. The mission would come to an end on 3 December. The Sudan military government stated that the mission failed to reach its objectives. DiCarlo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, stated: “The Security Council just voted to close down UNITAMS, but the UN is not abandoning the Sudanese people.” UNITAMS was established in June 2020 to support the country in a 12-month transition towards a civilian government. Its mandate was extended in 2021 and 2022. (“Security Council agrees to terminate UN mission in Sudan,” The United Nations, 1 December 2023)

Authorities blame the armed group for the casualties
On 2 December, Ethiopian officials accused Oromia of being attacked by the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) which resulted in the death of many civilians. Ethiopia's largest and populous Oromia region was under attack 11 days after the peace talks in Tanzania. Tanzania served as the buffer zone for the peaceful talks between Ethiopian officials and the OLA. However, this peace talk ended without agreement. At least 36 people were killed after unidentified attackers struck three villages in Oromia's Shirka district on November 24 and 27. (“Ethiopia's Oromiya region accuses Ola rebels of killing 'many' people,” Times of India, 2 December 2023)

Death toll due to floods rises to 110
On 4 August, BBC Africa quoted the UN OCHA that the death toll due to the ongoing floods in Somalia has risen to 110. According to OCHA, more than one million people have been displaced and nearly 2.4 million people are affected due to the calamity. The agency has warned of the risk of the spread of several diseases including cholera in the states of Hirshabelle and Galmudug. Somalia and neighbouring countries of Kenya and Ethiopia have been experiencing heavy rains for the past week causing widespread casualties and displacement. According to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the floods are caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon causing extreme weather patterns. (“Somalia floods death toll rises to 110 - UN,” BBC, 4 August 2023)

11 workers die in a platinum mine accident
On 28 November, BBC reported that a dozen workers died and around 75 members were injured as a lift collided in a Platinum mine. Impala Platinum Chief Executive, Nico Muller, described it as the "darkest day" in the company's history. South Africa has several deepest mines in the world. The accident took place when the winding rope connected to the cage-like lift carrying workers up and down to the mine started to move downwards unexpectedly. Impala Platinum stated that operations at the mine have been suspended. The officials added that it will extend its support to the families of their workers who died in service. In 2023, a South African mine accident resulted in the death of 60 People. (“Sudden lift plunge at South African mine kills 11,” BBC, 28 November 2023)

Another coup attempt says Guinea-Bissau’s President
On 2 December, Guinea-Bissau's President, Umaro Sissoco Embalo, who arrived in the country after attending the COP28 in UAE, stated the violence in the country during the week was a coup attempt. The unrest between members of the National Guard and special forces of the presidential guard on Thursday night in the capital Bissau left at least two people dead. Guinea-Bissau has suffered a series of coups and attempted coups since its independence from Portugal in 1974. (“Guinea-Bissau: Soldier detained after gunfire in capital,” BBC, 2 December 2023) 

Accidental army drone strikes kill many civilians
On 4 December, BBC reported that Nigeria's Armed Forces accidentally fired a drone strike on a village in its North-western part killing dozens of civilians celebrating a Muslim festival. They were killed by drones targeting terrorists and bandits in the air strike that took place in Tudun Biri village in the state of Kaduna. Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) stated that “Eighty-five dead bodies have so far been buried while search is still ongoing,” listing children, women and the elderly among the victims. Nigeria's military often conducts air raids as it fights the extremist violence and rebel attacks that have destabilised Nigeria's north for more than a decade, often leaving civilian casualties in its wake. (“Nigeria air strike 'mistakenly' kills worshippers at religious festival,” BBC, 4 December 2023)

Junta overturns anti-migrant smuggling law
On 28 November, the Niger junta overturned an eight-year-old law that criminalised migrant smuggling. The junta stated that the law “did not take into account the interests of Niger and its citizens.”  The law was passed in 2015 after a million asylum seekers and migrants tried to reach Europe through illegal and dangerous means. The implementation of the law resulted in a decrease in illegal people smuggling. The easing of the law is likely to cause a reemergence of trafficking gangs. (“Niger coup leaders repeal law against migrant smuggling,” BBC, 28 November 2023)

40 civilians killed in militant attack
On 28 November, BBC Africa reported that at least 40 civilians were killed in an Islamist militant attack in northern Burkina Faso. The Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM), an Islamist militant group active in West Africa has attacked the city of Djibo. The country has been battling insurgency since 2015. (“Islamists kill at least 40 civilians in Burkina Faso,” BBC, 28 November 2023)

Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso to create a federation
On 1 December, a two-day meeting was held in Malian capital Bamako, where the foreign ministers of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso met. During the meeting, they proposed establishing a confederation uniting the West African countries. In September, the military leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger established the Alliance of Sahel States, a mutual defence pact. The latest meeting aimed at elaborating the functions of the defence alliance. Africanews quoted foreign ministers of the West African countries stating the “great potential for peace, stability, diplomatic strength and economic development that a strengthened political alliance offers." (“Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger look to form a federation,” Africanews, 1 December 2023)

About the authors
Nithyashree RB is a Post Graduate Scholar at Stella Maris College, Chennai. Anu Maria Joseph is a Research Assistant at NIAS. Narmatha S is a Postgraduate Scholar at the University of Madras.

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