Civil society observers warned that new climate rules could threaten even greater hunger in Africa, if they weren’t carefully crafted to protect the rights of small-scale farmers.
“Negotiations on a new climate deal are struggling due to trust issues – but we will not be hoodwinked by technical or procedural tricks, ” Mithika Mwenda, General Secretary of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), headquarterd in Kenya, said at a press conference.
Mwenda was referring to problems at the talks over the chairing and a renewed focus on how to account for emissions from land-use, a central issue for many Africans dependent on the land for their livelihoods.
“Negotiations can’t work when promises are broken. We were promised a legal second commitment period of Kyoto, we don’t have it. We were promised that emission cuts would be strengthened this year, they weren’t.” – Aissatou Diouf from ENDA, a non-profit organisation based in Dakar, Senegal and PACJA member said.
The UN talks, lasting two weeks in Bonn, are focused on increasing climate actions in the near-term and on creating a new climate agreement for 2015 – to come in to effect in 2020.
“We cannot have a situation where because of UN rules we count emissions from farming as if it were industrial emissions. It would open the door to trading in the soil of African farmers by the bankers in Europe. Comparing apples and oranges like that puts the whole fruit-cart at risk.” Hindou U. Ibrahim, from AFPAT, an Indigenous Peoples Organisation based in Chad and a PACJA member said.
“We are concerned about counting emissions from the land-sector in Africa a new deal but we don’t want to see farming left out completely – in fact it has to be there for adaptation. There must be sharing of finance and technology to allow the farmers in Africa who are hit by climate change they have not caused to be able to respond.” Said, Mandla Hadebe, FOCCISA/EJN a faith-based organization in Cape Town, South Africa, and PACJA member.
“The talks started with the laughable suggestion from Mr Obama that a policy of keeping US emissions above 1990 levels well into the 2030s somehow counts as leadership. Policy like that is leading us straight to 4C of warming and untold problems of hunger and starvation in Africa,” Mr Mwenda concluded.