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Africa threatens walkout from climate talks

Thursday September 3 2009

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi attends a special AU Summit held in Tripoli, capital of Libya, Aug. 31, 2009. XINHUA

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi attends a special AU Summit held in Tripoli, capital of Libya, Aug. 31, 2009. XINHUA 


ADDIS ABABA, Thursday - Africa's climate change negotiators led by Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi have threatened to withdraw from the upcoming global climate change talks.

The Ethiopian PM said Africa might have to walk out if the December climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark, failed to agree with Africa’s minimum position.

“If need be we are prepared to walk out of any negotiations that threaten to be another rape of our continent,” he said.

Mr Zenawi told Africa ministers and European partners gathered in Addis Ababa to consolidate Africa’s expectation and position for the next global climate negotiations.

According to Africa's common position paper, the continent wants huge financial support (estimated at US$300 billion) and technology transfer from the West for mitigation and adaptation activities to curb the impact of climate crisis on the continent.

Mr Zenawi, however, hinted that his delegation will not claim compensation but fight for global action to reduce the impact of climate change.


“We will never accept any global deal that does not limit global warming to the minimum unavoidable level, no matter what level of compensation and assistance is promised to us,” he said.

“We will not be there to express its participation by merely warming the chairs or to make perfunctory speeches and statements,” Mr Zenawi said.

The Ethiopian leader was elected by Africa Union to head the continent's delegation for the talks. The delegation includes Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa. African Union chief Jean Ping and AU current chairman Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi will also accompany the delegation to Copenhagen.

Key positions

Africa demands that developed countries should commit 0.5 per cent of their GDP for climate action in developing countries and commit to new and innovative sources of public and private sector finance, with the major source of funding coming from the public sector.

Mr Ping said the upcoming negotiation should ensure sustainable financial flow to mitigate and adapt the impacts of climate change.

“Existing financial mechanisms are inadequate, complex and fragmented and have constrained African countries from gaining access to these resources,” Mr Ping said.

Africa needs to create an African climate change fund through collaboration amongst African institutions such as the African Union Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank.

Mitigation and adaptation

To support climate change mitigation activities in developing nations Western nations were asked to set at least US$200 billion (0.5 per cent from their GDP) by 2020, Africa’s new common position paper revealed.

According to the Common Position document, Africa is demanding measurable, reportable and verifiable emission reduction by developed nations.

Rich nations need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 and at least 80 to 95 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Africa also demanded from the West better climate change adaptation fund worth US$67 billion per year by 2020.

Developed countries should commit to the deployment, diffusion and transfer of technology to developing countries, based on principles of accessibility, affordability, appropriateness and adaptability.