The Secretary General of the East African Community, Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera has cautioned the international community that the world was at a crossroads and the outcome of the Paris Climate Conference shall either bequeath a better, safer planet to future generations “or destroy our common heritage and our shared humanity”.
Speaking at the 21st Session of the Conference of Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), also serving as the 11th Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP11) currently underway in Paris, France, the Secretary General expressed the wishes and expectations of the East African citizens on the Paris Climate Change Talks and reckoned that the Agreement must take into consideration the interest of the vulnerable and poor by ensuring that adaptation is equally prioritized and differentiated responsibilities of developed and developing countries reflected in the Agreement.
(L-R) The EAC Deputy Secretary General for Productive and Social Sectors, Hon Jesca Eriyo, Secretary General of the East African Community, Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera and Mr. Jean Baptiste Havugimana, Director of Productive Sectors following the proceedings of the conference.
Amb. Sezibera further urged that issues related to loss and damage associated with climate change impact must be firmly anchored in the agreement through the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage and country ownership of adaptation and mitigation programmes and projects, and ensure transparency in the provisions of financial, technology transfer and other forms of support including capacity building which should be customized to specific needs of beneficiary countries.
“EAC is ready and committed towards supporting implementation of the Paris Agreement by supporting EAC Partner States through the process of ratification of the agreement to pave way for its early entry into force in 2020”, the Secretary General reiterated.
The EAC official reaffirmed the region’s commitment to aligning its existing Regional Climate Change Policy (2011), the 5 year EAC Climate Change Strategy and Master Plan (2033) to the Paris Agreement as well as fast tracking the process for enacting a Regional Climate Change Bill through the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).
He called for international support in the capitalization of the EAC Climate Change Fund through pioneering the accreditation of EAC as a Regional Implementing Entities (RIE) under the Adaptation Fund (AF) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Speaking at the African Day of COP21 convened under the theme; Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCS): implications, prospects and Africa’s readiness to contribute to climate solutions, the Secretary General applauded the EAC Partner States for submitting their INDCs to address climate change mitigation and adaptation.
“Information included in the INDCs should facilitate negotiations and deliver a new Climate Agreement in Paris” said the Secretary General. He stated that region was looking forward to the implementation of INDCs based on associated support requirements of finance, technology transfer, and capacity building, to be provided by the developed countries.
He asserted that EAC was fully in support of the continental climate resilient and low carbon development initiatives and programmes such as the Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance (ACSA); the African Adaptation and Loss and Damage Initiative, and the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) launched in Paris. The newly established EAC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (EACREEE) stands to contribute to the implementation of the latter Initiative.
The United Nations Climate Change Conference commenced on 30th November 2015 and is expected to close on 11th December 2015 by delivering a new global climate agreement negotiated by UNFCCC Parties under the Ad Hoc Working Group on Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP).