Climate change – strengthen measures of adaptation

The Mozambican government believes that the next UN climate change conference should strengthen measures of adaptation to and mitigation of the effects of climate change, according to Telma Manjate, the climate change focal point in the Environment Ministry.

South Africa is hosting the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban from 28 November to 9 December. These conferences have been held annually since the Convention on Climate Change entered into force in 1995.

Speaking at a Maputo seminar on climate change on Tuesday, Manjate said “Our greatest concern is with adaptation and mitigation. We would like adaptation to be duly discussed in Durban. We also think that mitigation can be undertaken to help the country develop sustainably”.

This position, Manjate added, is held by rest of the African continent, which also takes adaptation as a top priority, although there is space for individual countries to present their own concerns.

Mozambique’s position, drawn up with the assistance of a hired consultant, is still under debate, but will be finalised before the Durban conference.

Mozambique is likely to be severely affected by climate change, and some of the impacts already being felt are variations in temperature and rainfall patterns and increased frequency of cyclones.

Although some measures of adaptation and mitigation are under way, the Environment Ministry argues that a common vision, principles, strategic goals and national priorities should be drawn up. In such a plan, the role of each stakeholder – the government, private business, civil society organisations, academics, the mass media and cooperation partners – should be set out.

The government also favours greater integration of the challenges posed by climate change into development policies, strategies and programmes. These challenges will be included in a strategic plan on climate change that the Ministry is drawing up, which will become the basis for other sectors to draft their own detailed strategies.

Like other developing countries, Mozambique is concerned about the future of the Kyoto Protocol, aimed at reducing emissions of the greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and sulphur hexafluoride), which are leading to a dangerous warming of the planet.

The Kyoto Protocol expires on 31 December 2012, and the countries most endangered by climate change are concerned about what will happen then. Will any legal instrument at all be in force, before a new protocol is signed and ratified by UN member states, a process which could take years?

“If the Kyoto Protocol dies, then that is the end of the instrument that the world had to oblige developed countries to finance measures of adaptation”, said Manjate. “That means saying goodbye to the Environment Fund. This is our major concern”.

The Kyoto Protocol was signed and ratified by 191 countries. Only one major country has refused to ratify the Protocol – the United States, where many politicians still try to deny the reality of man-made climate change, and act as though the short-term interests of American corporations trump the long term interests of the planet.

Post published in: Africa News
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