By Andrew Wasike
KATOWICE, Poland (AA) – Africans expect “real action” on climate change, said delegates from the African group, as an international climate conference began in the southern Polish city of Katowice on Monday.
The conference, which is being held in the heart of coal country, brought together green activists, scientists, government officials, and heads of state.
Fatou Ndege Gaye, Gambia's former minister of environment, vowed to push for change with actions to combat climate change in Africa, which is suffering the most while having the least emissions.
“We, as Africans, are doing well and the delegates that have been sent here will do their job to ensure that we negotiate and get financial support from the green fund. What we need are resources and that costs money. We want what was decided in Paris,” Gaye told Anadolu Agency.
Gaye was referring to a commitment that had been made in the climate conference in Paris by developed and rich countries to ramp up climate financing by $100 billion by 2020 to assist developing countries in fighting the climate change.
Ramero Anthony, a green activist from Mozambique, said: “It is funny that we are holding the summit in Poland, whose involvement in carbon economy is so high due to its dependency on coal. I am here to see whether they are willing to turn to renewable energy, leading by example.”
- 'Most vulnerable' to climate change
Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa, who also serves as UN General Assembly president, called on developed countries to step up and turn commitments into actions.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, she acknowledged that Africa is the most vulnerable continent, despite being the smallest contributor to rising CO2 emissions.
“Africa is the most vulnerable continent in regards to climate change, so Africa has to be at the heart and center of the climate finance […] We have a challenge of going through the newly pledged replenishment of the green climate fund and we really hope countries will follow the excellent example of Germany who has committed to a very strong replenishment of the fund,” she said.
The UN General Assembly president also lauded the African group for fighting for their continent’s future.
“I have been present in climate negotiations for about 15 to 20 years. I am not exaggerating, I have seen the African delegates working day and night and are very committed with their continent," she added.
The East African region has been hit by a drought, termed as the worst in 60 years, leaving people in a food crisis there. North Africa suffers from floods and other effects of climate change.
The African Development Bank in a statement said it has gone to the conference to defend the continent’s interests.
The conference will last through Dec.14.