Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Africa’s $30 Billion, ‘a Drop in the Ocean’

Gambian Delegation Dejected With ‘Climate Change No Deal’
Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) After what seemed nearly an age of arguments, developed nations at the recently concluded Conference of Parties in Copenhagen, Denmark agreed upon what they called a collective commitment to provide new and additional resources, approximately USD 30 billion for the period 2010-2012 for the African Continent.
This includes forestry and investment through international institutions, with balance allocation between adaptation and mitigation.
However, the National Representative of Global Unification in The Gambia, Mr. Ebrima S. Dem has described the amount as a drop in the ocean at a joint press conference organised by Global Unification and the Children for Children Organisation (CFCO), at the Cinema Plaza Centre in Serrekunda, on December 30, 2009.
He said: “the 30 billion is not enough because if it was to be divided between every individual on the continent, each person will get four dollars per year, so what can that do for the people.”
Dem, who was part of The Gambian youth delegation to Copenhagen, also expressed his disappointment with the outcome of the climate change conference for the fact that a legal binding agreement was not sealed. “We were hoping that we would reach a fair, ambitious and binding deal,” he said.
He also noted that the Kyoto Protocol was retained but efforts to convince developed countries to make it a legal binding document proofed futile, instead an agreement called the Copenhagen Accord was reached but it is not legal binding too.
On his part, the Head of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), Mr. Essa Khan who was partly disappointed for the fact that a legal binding deal was not reached, saying that the developed nations went to Denmark with their own agenda. “They want the Kyoto Protocol to come to an end by 2012 that is why they are funding until 2012” he said.
He added: “from another perspective, I am not disappointed because prior to the conference, I said that Africa should go to Copenhagen with a development and poverty reduction agenda.”
Khan, who was part of the Government’s delegation, explained that the Kyoto Protocol is based on two periods (2012 and 2020) for countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to 40 per cent. He argued that the developed nations were looking for their own development and thus regarded the Kyoto Protocol as too ambitious.
For Africa, he noted that it was a matter of life and death as they were determined to see that the Kyoto Protocol is made legal binding document.
On the home front, he said that as it is, what The Gambia should do is to come up with concrete driven programmes in order to lobby for funds. He said that NDMA is looking forward to establishing a National Contingency Plan in 2010 provided that there are funds available.
He told journalists that the humanitarian aspect of disaster management is very important but they are moving away from this agenda. “What we are looking at is disaster risk reduction and the development aspect of disaster management,” he stressed.
The National Coordinator of CFCO, Mr. Ibrahim Ceesay was part of the COP15 delegation responsible for organizing protests in Copenhagen during the two-week Conference on Climate Change.
Asked why was it necessary to stage demonstrations when people had seen the end of things at the beginning (no legal binding agreement), and also what make them believe that their noises and actions was capable of forcing world leaders to reach a legal binding deal?
He then went into history, citing that people marched to end apartheid, fell the Berlin Wall, gained independence among other things. They too believed that their protest could have been crucial to the attainment of climate justice.
“This was the first time in the history of the world to have over 100, 000 people to took part in a protest to in order to make sure that climate justice is achieved,” he explained.
According to him, their fear was that if the future generation will have to inherit what they have inherited, then their will be no environmental justice.
He also admitted that some 400 protesters from across the world are still detained in the Scandinavian city for what the Danish Police called a bridge of the country’s laws. VOL:2 ISSN:14

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