It has been a noteworthy six days since the commencement of the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where over one hundred thousand participants, including delegates and representatives from African Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), have convened.
This year, considerable attention has been directed towards the outcomes of the first-ever post-Paris Agreement Global Stock Take sessions, with the hopes and expectations of African CSOs, particularly under the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), closely tied to the results. Amidst the ongoing events and negotiations, African CSOs seized the opportunity to engage in a meaningful dialogue with Mr. Ephraim Shitima Mwepya, the Chair of the Africa Group of Negotiators (AGN).
The AGN is structured with a leadership collective that includes lead coordinators, strategic advisors, thematic coordinators, previous chairs of the AGN, the AGN plenary comprising UNFCCC focal points from each African country and their national delegations, and the AGN secretary. This collaborative effort involving all 54 African countries ensures a unified voice in climate negotiations, with lead coordinators and strategic advisors meeting regularly to formulate group positions and strategies for endorsement by the AGN plenary.
In a recent meeting with CSOs affiliated with PACJA, Mr. Shitima revealed that ongoing negotiations are progressing, with some agendas adopted and others still under discussion. The AGN, representing the collective interests of African nations, submitted input three days ago on the functioning, modalities, and work program matters related to the forum on the impact of the implementation of response measures serving the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement.
COP28 is being hailed as the COP of accountability, where parties are evaluating progress in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Responding to inquiries from African CSO members, Mr. Shitima emphasized that the group of African negotiators is actively advocating for a comprehensive and fair assessment, pushing to elevate it to the political level.
At the outset of COP28, leaders approved the operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund, with pledges exceeding 700 million from various countries. The establishment of this fund received approval during COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Regarding the fund, the AGN Chair noted that the World Bank (WB) must accept the given conditions. Operationalization was swiftly approved, and the floor was opened for statements, aiming to prevent any hindrances in the process. The commitment and engagement of all stakeholders, including CSOs and negotiating bodies, underscore the significance of COP28 in shaping a collective response to global climate challenges.