Xolisa Ngwadla is from South Africa and is the Lead climate change negotiator for the Africa Group of Nations at Paris. The group comprises of diverse set of countries from the continent and carry great weight at the negotiations. Ngwadla talks to Nitin Sethi on some tricky issues that could hobble the Paris summit.
For the future regime the agreement, it must be effective and ensure deep cuts in emissions to keep the world and Africa safe. For the future regime, it is in the African countries’ interests on the other hand to ensure that the adaptation burden is not left to only the poor countries address. However, we must achieve all this whilst finding the principles of the convention enshrined in the Paris agreement.
Some developed countries are against differentiation between developed and developing countries in the Paris agreement, where does the Africa Group stand on it?
Then the convention goes further on to actually define that the developed countries should take lead in emission reductions, and rich developed countries to provide finance and adaptation support and technology. We find these provisions of the convention central to the agreement. The convention does not require the developing countries to take similar obligations as the developed countries.
The point I am trying to make is, differentiation is mandated as a principle under the convention, and it does not preclude any country from taking an additional obligation, so we should be looking at a language that reflects that possibility. Take the case of Marshall Island who have taken an emission reduction target comparable to developed countries, they are not required to do so but are willing, and the agreement has to enable them with the support from developed countries. So we need to find the language so we can maintain differentiation and is aligned with more action and ambition.
But at the same time, it should not present any expectation of an automatic updating. Along we could have a formulation that helps parties to define the international cooperation for additional action without giving it as an undertaking to the Paris agreement. It is very important for the Africa group that the scope of the stock-taking is not limited to mitigation but also covers the delivery of the means of implementation - finance, technology, adaptation and capacity building.
On the issue of finance, how central for Africa Group is it to see a climate finance road map in the core of the Paris agreement ?
There are discussions on the objectives and goals of the Paris agreement and what should be enshrined in its Purpose? Please tell us about it
So on the Purpose the first point is for it to reflect both the objective of the Convention, and the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Third point on substance – temperature goal in similar formulation as we agreed mutually in Cancun. Then it should reflect on the mitigation aspect of that temperature goal and the implication on adaptation of that temperature goal, and the required support. These are they key issues for the Africa Group, and the Like-Minded Developing Countries Group (which includes India and China) has offered proposal for this called article 2bis at the moment. African Group is considering the proposals, as it does address some of the concerns of the African Group.