Heed climate change advice!

The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference opened in Sharm El-Sheikh, a city in Egypt, yesterday and going to run till November 18.

The UN climate conference can be referred to as Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and since the one taking place in Egypt is the 27th, it is dubbed COP27.

Egypt is hosting it because it is assuming the presidency COP27 of the UNFCCC for the next one year.

The COP, first held in Berlin, Germany in March, 1995, meets every year, unless the Parties decide otherwise.

The COP is the supreme decision-making body of the UNFCCC and reviews the implementation of the Convention and any other legal instruments that it adopts and takes decisions necessary to promote the effective implementation of the Convention, including institutional and administrative arrangements.

The COP adopts its annual thematic areas and specific actions to be implemented by member countries in the five recognised UN regions – Africa; Asia;Latin America and the Caribbean; Central and Eastern Europe; and Western Europe and Others.

It is significant to note, for instance, that at COP 21 in Paris in December 2015, the COP reached a landmark agreement to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future.

The landmark decision, described as the Paris Agreement, was meant, for the first time, to bring all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so.

The Paris Agreement requires all Parties to put forward their best efforts through “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs) and to strengthen these efforts in the years ahead.

The expectation of the Agreement includes requirements that all Parties report regularly on their emissions and on their implementation efforts and that there will also be a global stocktaking every five years to assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the agreement and to inform further individual actions by Parties.

The importance of the COP cannot be underestimated as the world combats devastating effects of climate change, particularly warmer temperatures that are changing weather patterns and disrupting the usual balance of nature.

Flooding, for instance, which is an effect of climate change, has wreaked a lot of havoc in over 40 countries this year alone, with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Australia severely affected.

And flooding has direct impacts on food systems and food security, settlements and livelihoods.

Fortunately, the thematic areas for COP27 include mainstreaming adaptation; livelihoods; fostering resilience for food security; eco-system-based adaptation; water resource management and access to water; climate information and early warning systems; and climate change and health.

Besides, there are five key areas to watch at COP27, which are nature, food, water, industry de-carbonisation and climate adaptation.

It is our hope that COP countries, particularly the developing and under-developed ones, would strictly abide by the spirit of the Paris Agreement and heed the decision(s) to be taken by COP27.

Developing countries are fond of being lackadaisical about many things until the unexpected happens and then they take some firefighting actions and rest.

The effects of climate change are dire as they can easily ruin the economies of weak countries and give developed countries and donor institutions the trouble to provide assistance following events that could have been prevented or their effects mitigated if advice or guidelines had been followed.

We welcome the delegates to COP27 and wish them fruitful deliberations and decision(s) that can be adopted to reduce climate change and its impacts on the globe for life to progress rather than being brought down by climate change.


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