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Pan-African Group Takes a Stand at Climate Confab
11/25/2013 11:57:25 AM

Salisu Dahiru, delegate, at Warsaw, Poland

(GIN) A movement for climate justice, building across Africa, was in the house at the global Climate Summit in Warsaw, Poland.

Writing in African Green Media, Fidelis Zvomuya of Zimbabwe observed: "As the world gathers for the 19th annual UN Climate Change talks (COP 19), Africa stands at the precipice. In the subcontinent, climate change is no longer a distant threat, nor at the doorstep. Climate change is here."

U.S. negotiators are said to fear climate talks focused "increasingly on blame and liability" and that poor nations will be "seeking redress for climate damages from sea level rise, droughts, powerful storms and other adverse impacts."

COP 19, from Nov. 11-22, brought together civil society, government and corporations to forge a new global agreement on climate change. This year, corporations were heavily represented while citizens groups were either sidelined or repressed by local authorities.

According to Emmanuel Dlamini of the African Group of Negotiators, most of African agriculture is rain-fed, making it especially vulnerable to droughts and floods which are more frequent, more intense and more unpredictable due to climate change.

Mithika Mwenda from Kenya represented the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance. In his speech this week he identified his colleagues on the stage from Botswana, Niger, Tanzania, Zambia and Cameroon who have joined the movement. "We joined other people from the world because we believe that climate change is a global problem which requires global partnership and solidarity."

The Central Africa forest people, he said, have been at the forefront of climate change. "We don't know where these people will go if the forest is depleted."

He compared the devastation in the Philippines to Puntland in Somalia where a ferocious storm and flood this week killed hundreds of people and thousands of livestock - anecdotal evidence suggests a less than 10 percent survival rate for livestock in the hardest hit areas.

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