African Ministers shelve draft declaration on Climate Change


By Sarah Kimani

November 15, 2016

Also published by South African Broadcasting Corporation

African Environment Ministers meeting in Marrakech, Morocco on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change conference on Monday declined to adopt a draft declaration on how to deal with the effects of climate change, after it emerged that not all stakeholders had been consulted.

South Africa's Environment Minister Edna Molewa was the first to raise concerns over the draft document titled: “the 3S Action Plan for Africa” indicating that the conveners had overlooked the participation of several African countries as well the African Union and NEPAD, who are crucial partners to its implementation.

Molewa cautioned that if adopted in its current form, environment ministers risked overstepping their mandate. 

The 3S Action plan for Africa, outlines solutions aimed at stemming migration, radicalization and creating jobs for at least 1 Million young Africans by 2020 as some of the ways of adapting to the devastating effects of global warming.

Egypt will now chair a task force to deliberate on a draft that will include the voices of all stakeholders.

All was set for the adoption of the draft declaration titled the 3S Action Plan for Africa on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, Morocco. 

Conveners of the meeting, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Morocco, who is also the President of COP22 Salaheddine Mezouar and Senegal’s Environment Minister Abdoulaye Balde opened the session outlining the threats that the continent faces as a result of climate change.

The 3Ss under the initiative (also known as the Marrakech declaration) stand for Sustainability, Stability and Security.

The draft sought to link climate change to increased migration and insecurity in Africa. 

It proposes a raft of solutions aimed at stemming exodus from Africa, radicalization and accelerating the implementation of the Paris Agreement- an accord reached in the French capital in December last year, which outlines ways of reducing global warming. 
Ministers attending the meeting did not reach a consensus on its immediate adoption, citing lack of sufficient consultations by the conveners.

“We have the impression that many African countries that we spoke to are seeing this for the first time. Of even greater concern the appropriate structures of the African Union and Nepad have not seen the document either," says Molewa.

South Africa, Congo, Ethiopia and Egypt also raised concern that issues of security needed to be separated from matters of climate change and that the African Union’s Peace and Security Council as well relevant security organs among African countries must be involved in the talks

“It’s not clear as to why as Africans we need to securitize the climate change agenda such as terrorism in margins of a United Nations conference on  the African soil, we have looked at documents around human conflict, and how climate change seems to be connected to that there seems to be no conclusive evidence or a scientifically based connection,” adds SA minister.

While appreciating that the continent has indeed suffered the effects of climate change, the ministers urged for more time to come with a document agreeable to all.

Egypt’s Environment Minister Dr. Khaled Mohammed Fahmy was appointed chairperson of a task force that will include Senegal, Ethiopia, Gambia and Niger to come up with a document that encompasses the views of all countries.

The ministers formed a smaller committee to discuss the draft document ahead of  its adoption and presentation to African Heads of State attending the high level segment of the conference beginning Tuesday.