Shifeta engages stakeholders ahead of COP 21

18 Nov 2015 20:20pm
WINDHOEK, 18 NOV (NAMPA) - The Minister of Environment and Tourism is engaging key stakeholders to develop climate change programmes ahead of the Conference of the Parties (COP) 21 Summit, which starts in Paris, France at the end of this month.
Stakeholders include the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry, University of Namibia and the Polytechnic of Namibia.
In his ministerial statement delivered in the National Assembly (NA) here last Wednesday, Pohamba Shifeta explained that the climate change programmes are aimed at addressing issues such as food and water security, renewable energy, clean transportation technologies, and enhancement of community-based livelihoods activities.
The United Nations COP 21 summit is scheduled to take place from 30 November to 11 December.
Some 120 heads of state are set to convene at the summit, which has as its objective the first-ever universal climate deal to include all of the 195 nations under the umbrella of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The summit is expected to produce a deal committing all UN nations to actions against climate change, replacing the Kyoto Protocol that expires on 31 December 2020. The Kyoto Protocol is a UNFCCC agreement signed in 1992 that commits State Parties to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses by the end of 2020 on the presumption that climate change is caused by man-made carbon dioxide emissions.
Shifeta said the COP 21 conference is expected to come up with a new legally binding global climate change agreement which requires all parties to the UNFCCC to make commitments or comparable efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to stabilise global warming.
The new treaty will enter into force on 01 January 2021.
The minister said the COP 21 negotiations will focus on two major goals agreed to at COP 16 in 2010.
The first goal is to limit the global average temperature to below two degrees celsius. The second goal is to establish a Green Climate Fund (GCF) which was founded as a mechanism to assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change and capitalise it with US.Dollars 100 billion per year by 2020 and keep capitalising it annually from 2021 with the same amount or more.
The GCF was established by the UN to help poor countries tackle climate change. It is hoped that the US.Dollars 100 billion mobilised per year for the GCF will be one of the main channels of aid for developing nations.
One of the major issues ahead of the summit is disputes over financial assistance for poor countries to help them cut emissions and deal with the effects of climate change.
The African continent is one of the hardest hit by climate change and also the continent least able to cope.
Namibia's Environmental Commissioner, Theofilus Nghitila recently told Nampa that Namibia would like to invite investments in the renewable energy sector from developed nations during the summit.
“So far, there are good indications from various countries that want to partner with Namibia regarding that. Maybe we will sign agreements there. There are quite a lot of things happening at the moment. Some developed countries have showed some interest,” he said.
Nghitila said human activity is overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and other global warming emissions, subsequently trapping heat that drives up the planet’s temperature, and creates significant and harmful impacts on the people’s health, the environment, and climate. Renewable energy in turn provides substantial benefits for the climate, health, and the economy, he said.
He further noted that there are willing partners that want to come on board and have discussions with Namibia in terms of the country’s abundant renewable sources, like solar and wind.