Namibia wants Paris agreement with different responsibilities

25 Nov 2015 07:10am


Namibia is looking forward to the finalisation of a legally binding Paris climate change agreement based on common but different responsibilities, Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has said.

Nandi-Ndaitwah, who is also the Minister of International Relations made the remarks during a briefing session on various matters for the Diplomatic Corps last Friday.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference is set to take place from 30 November to 11 December 2105 in Paris, France where governments will reach a new and universal climate change agreement.

Also known as the twenty-first session of the Conference of Parties (COP) 21, the event will attract close to 50 000 participants that include heads of state, officials from government, intergovernmental organisations, and non-governmental organisations.

"Namibia's message to the international community this year is that we must work together for a global mitigation action if we are to ensure both sustainable development at national level and prevent the catastrophic effects of climate change. We are going to Paris to pool efforts in reaching an agreement to reduce global warming below two degrees Celsius," she stated.

The international political response to climate change began at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, where the 'Rio Convention' included the adoption of the UNFCCC. This convention set out a framework for action aimed at stabilising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to avoid "dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system."

On green energy, Nandi-Ndaitwah said it plays a crucial role in reducing greenhouse gasses, ensuring energy security and achieving sustainable development. Green energy comes from natural sources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, plants, algae and geothermal heat. These energy resources are renewable, meaning they are naturally replenished.

She highlighted Namibia's readiness to adopt clean energy without compromising its industrialisation policy, hence the call for access to affordable clean energy. Climate change has an impact on food security and it also undermines the positive achievements Namibia has made in addressing poverty, the Deputy PM said.

Furthermore, Nandi-Ndaitwah warned that according to predictions, Namibia might face another period of drought. Namibia's former President Hifikepunye Pohamba declared a national emergency in May 2013 due to the devastating drought that affected over 300 000 people and killed thousands of large and small stock.

She also commended the international community for donating relief aid during difficult times. With 196 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 192 of the UNFCCC Parties. The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.