NAIROBI/13/12/2019 /ACP:Threats of terrorism to global peace as an evolving transnational menace, coupled with the growing threat of climate change and the disruption it continues to cause among member states of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) requires them to lead from the front in providing recommendations on how the global community can counter terrorism and extremism as well as impact of climate change.
In the just concluded 9th ACP Head of States and Government Summit held in Nairobi, leaders – who focused on good governance, peace and security (including terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization, climate change and the Small Island Developing States – SIDS) – stressed the need for concerted effort towards curbing the menace.
“Today, almost all our countries are reeling under the impact of climate crisis. If North-South relations are to have meaning in the 21st century they must be partly defined by justice, of the moment and recognition that the Warsaw Mechanism for loss and damage cannot simply be a footnote in the documents of the conference to settle climate change arrangements. It has to be real,” Mia Amor Motley, Prime Minister of Barbados told the summit.
According to Prime Minister Motley, the Caribbean region understands that its people are not the ones who started it but are now the ones on the front line of the battle and are receiving the damaging consequences of climate crisis.
“The notion of climate refugees is now regrettably part and parcel of our lexicon throughout Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries. It is here, it is now, it is not forecasted, and it’s not predicted. Lives are being lost, livelihoods are being destroyed,” added Prime Minister Motley.
Without necessary action, leaders at the summit warned that government finances are being strained to breaking points, the cost of insurance becoming prohibitive for households and businesses in ACP world. Hence the question as to where shall ACP economies go, given that most security contracts require the procurement of insurance on the part of businesses if they are to participate fully in a globally integrated economy.
“These are real issues our people are facing on a daily basis, and we would do well to confront them and to advocate their resolution as a matter of urgency,” she reiterated.
In 2017, a €70 million ACP-EU initiative was launched in the margins of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 23) in Bonn, to help with implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change to benefit ACP’s 79-member states.
The new Intra-ACP Global Climate Change Alliance+ (GCCA+) Programme aimed to strengthen cooperation and dialogue on climate change, while providing member states with demand-driven technical assistance.
Among the areas targeted include climate change mainstreaming, implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC’s), access to climate finance, scaling up and mainstreaming of successful adaptation and mitigation practices as well as general areas that incorporate the climate change and the sustainable development agenda.
In spite of high level of development, countries hit by disasters such as the hurricane move from dealing with qualitative issues in education to access to basic school places because of the destruction wrought on a society.
“I ask us to recognize that we cannot continue the process of development as contemplated in the post-independence era, with the vulnerability that we have in a climate crisis world, without appreciating that there needs to be specific mechanism for financing resilience and adaptation,” Prime Minister Motley further told the summit.
Dr. William Ruto, Kenya’s Deputy President raised a concern on the reality that although some of the ACP members in the Pacific only contribute 0.03 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, the millions of people who live there are experiencing some of the earliest and most severe consequences and that “some might run out of freshwater long before they run out of land”.
“People are already feeling the effects of climate change across Africa. Evidence shows that the change in temperature has affected the health, livelihoods, food productivity, water availability, and overall security of our people,” said Ruto.
Over the past 25 years, the number of weather-related disasters, such as floods and droughts, has doubled, resulting in the region having a higher mortality rate from droughts than any other region.
“Projections estimate that climate change will lead to an equivalent of 2 percent to 4 percent annual loss in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the region by 2040,” Ruto added.
On his part, Patrick Pruaitch, outgoing ACP President expressed concern that much as democracy in most of ACP countries was mature, a great concern is the continued escalation of conflicts in some member states.
“While we rejoice and are proud that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 was awarded to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali of Ethiopia and we all join in congratulating him; some countries of our Group are still mired and continuing to face high levels of armed violence. Others are seriously affected by terrorism and violent extremism. This is a constant source of concern,” said Pruaitch.
He adds, “At this critical juncture in the life of our group, and although we still have to grapple with the drastic impact of natural disasters resulting from climate change, the picture is not all grim. Indeed, a ‘triple win’ is within the ACP’s grasp, as renewable technologies create opportunities to increase agricultural productivity, improve resilience to climate change and contribute to long-term reductions in dangerous carbon emissions”.
“Our countries, whether Small Island Developing States, landlocked or laying coastal states, are all threatened by changes in the climate and disasters this bring upon us. Extreme weather conditions, in all forms but especially in the form of tropical cyclones, hurricanes, and droughts have been causes of deaths and destruction to our infrastructure and livelihoods,” Davis Steven, Deputy Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea said addressing the summit.
In order to accelerate the pace of this progress, Ruto called on leaders to ensure that this commitment must entail transformative collaboration, a good starting point being the inclusion, participation and consideration of youth and women in global affairs as well as partnerships with the private sector.
While reiterating EU’s commitment to working together with the ACP, Jutta Urpilainen, EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, said none of the member states can hide anymore from climate crisis.
“This is something that our partners in the Caribbean and the Pacific know only too well. Weather hazards are becoming ever more frequent and severe. For some, rising sea levels are putting their very existence at risk,” she said.
Recently in Kenya, problems have taken a tragic turn. After a severe drought; unusually heavy rains have affected at least 330,000 people: 18,000 people have been displaced and at least 120 people have died due to floods and landslides.
“I am afraid that condolences are not enough. We cannot simply stand by and let tragedies strike. We need to act now. I am a big believer in the power of youth. You must all have heard of Greta Thunberg, how she is rallying her generation, and how she is demanding all of us to act,” added Urpilainen.
In Europe, politicians are already acting with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, working hard to bring a European Green Deal into being with the aim of turning Europe into the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050.