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President Isaias Afwerki’s Remarks at the Africa Climate Summit

Your Excellency President William Ruto,

Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government

Distinguished Delegates

Ladies and Gentlemen

Allow me first to express our gratitude to President William Ruto for hosting the Africa Climate Summit and for the warm hospitality accorded to us.

Climate change poses, by all accounts, one of the most pressing challenges of our times.  Its impact in Africa will be immensely aggravated; compounded as it is by a host of other major hurdles.

Extreme weather changes that entail more frequent and intensified droughts; irreversible changes to Africa’s ecosystem, marine biodiversity, as well as rich flora and fauna; cannot bode well on Africa’s potential and aspirations for rapid economic growth.

They will also mortgage the opportunities and livelihood of future generations.

True, there are reservations and skepticism on the accuracy of the forecasts and “doomsday predictions” in relation to the voluminous scientific data collected so far.

There are also those who bemoan media hype and sweeping generalizations pronounced in various conferences.

But these differences of emphasis notwithstanding, the gravity and urgency of the situation will be downplayed only at our own, collective, peril.

In this perspective and in our modest view, efficacy and impact of our collective response is positively correlated with the linkages and synergy we develop in a three-pronged approach: the national; continental; and, global platforms and networks.

The policies we articulate, and implementation mechanisms we map out, at the individual national level will not provide the primary panacea to this global challenge.

The second-tier approach that has particular relevance to the Summit here are the programmes that can be pursued at the collective, continental level and supplement our individual national endeavours.

In this context, Africa can tap and incorporate the numerous scientific measures undertaken by global players in the field to bolster its purposeful mitigation measures.

At the institutional level, it will be important for our continent to establish its own professional African Advisory Panel to undertake timely research and complement available literature on the subject.

The structure can cascade down to regional and national levels, as appropriate, so as to generate comprehensive and accurate scientific research and information that has wider validity and applicability for all the constituent parts.

Africa must strive to foster and develop viable and actionable frameworks of cooperation on climate change at the global level; or in the third track.

This is vital both for reasons of synergy and also because Africa deserves much support as it has largely been on the receiving end.  Indeed, its Green House Gases emission footprint has been and remains comparatively small.

In conclusion, I remind this august gathering, that Africa mobilize its own resources rather than extend hands for handouts that may aggravate the existing situation by inviting interference and corrupt practices, while mobilizing our own resources will be enabling and motivating creativity at the level of the continent.

I urge everyone to not be attracted by the billions that are being promised by so called donors. Rather, we would like to mobilize our own resources and get away from this dependency that will definitely compromise everything at the level of the continent.

Thank you, Mr. President

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