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Africa must stand together against climate change, says Ethiopia’s deputy PM

Africa must stand together against climate change, says Ethiopia’s deputy PM
August 19
15:44 2023

Demeke Mekonnen, the deputy prime minister of Ethiopia, says Africans need to strengthen their collective voice on climate change issues.

Mekonnen, who is also the foreign affairs minister of the country, spoke on Friday at the closing of the 19th African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) held in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

He said climate change has serious impacts on different systems in Africa and inhibits the attainment of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and agenda 2063.

“Standing together in the matter of climate change and sustainable development is, therefore, a continental and global responsibility,” he said.

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Speaking also at the event, Fitsum Assefa, Ethiopia’s planning and development minister, said AMCEN  was held at a critical time when climate change has become an emergency.

Assefa reiterated the Ethiopian government’s commitment to the ratification of global multilateral environmental agreements and development, and the implementation of national policies and strategies.

She said the country has submitted its updated nationally determined contribution (NDC) to the United Nations framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC).

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She added that the NDC also contains Ethiopia’s ambitious 68 percent emission reduction target, 40 adaptation options and the 20 percent financial commitment of the government to implement the provisions in the document.

“Biodiversity is reducing at an alarming rate even when countries have adapted a framework to curb the situation,” Assefa said.

“Our oceans are being choked with plastic while countries are striving to set ambitious targets on plastic production and use. Toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes have continued to be produced while countries have been striving towards obtaining legally binding agreements.”

While pointing out that Africans are the most vulnerable to climate change, she reaffirmed Ethiopia’s commitment to implementing the green legacy initiative.

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She said the country is mobilising more than 35 million people in a day to plant more than half a billion seedlings of trees.

Simon Stiell, the executive secretary of the United Nations framework convention on climate change, noted that many African countries are setting ambitious targets in NDCs, despite facing many development challenges.

“We need transparent, equitable and simplified access to climate finance; particularly, for vulnerable countries in Africa,” Stiell said.

“We need to see increased investment in climate resilient infrastructure, renewable energy, and sustainable agriculture.”

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