By Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya:}
It was an additional opportunity for many African Journalists who are already au-fait with environmental and climate change issues in the continent. About fifty African Journalists from various media institutions including newspapers and Television stations across the African continent converge from the 2nd on to the 13th of September in the Kingdom of Morocco. Sierra Leone was represented by Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya of Standard Times Newspaper. The North African state is hosting from November 7th on to the 18th the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
As part of the events marking the two weeks Conference, the COP22 Steering Committee for Africa Media invited some African Journalists in other to receive lectures and fist hand information about the event and raise the awareness among the media about COP22 issues through the participation in a session of COP Academy. During the stay in Morocco, a series of meetings with select members of the COP22 steering committee, the inter-ministerial commission and Climate Change Experts were held.
The COP22 Head of the Press and Communication Ms. Samira Sittail during the COP Academy for the media, welcomed the African Media to the country and expressed the need of the Committee to pass on vital information which the media should in turn communicate to their respective countries. Commenting on the significant of Climate Change issues which is now the order of the day in any part of the world and more specifically in the African continent, Madam Sittail informed the Journalists that when it comes to the work of reporting Climate Change issues to the world, there is no need for any journalist to be a specialist in other to be able to report about Climate Change. Madam Sittail said Climate Change is becoming a political issue and expressed the fact that all what a journalist need to do is to get the right information from the specialists and be able to pass on this information to the public.
On the 3rd of this month, China and the United States of America who are the major contributors to Climate Change have ratified the Paris agreement at a colorful ceremony in Hangzhou, China. Madam Sittail’s statement qualifies the speech of the President of the United States, Barack Obama who said recently that “you don’t have to be a scientist. You have to read or listen to scientists to know that the overwhelming body of scientific evidence shows us that climate change is caused by human activity. And when we protect our lands, it helps us protect the climate for the future.”
Although it is the less polluter to the environment and less contributor towards Climate Change in the world, Africa is the continent that suffers greatly towards the impact of Climate Change. According to Madam Sittail, if nothing is done collectively in other to tackle Climate Change within the next forty years, the whole world will experience lots of changes in the universe.
While he was speaking on “the commitments of the private sector, African Companies in particular in the fight against Climate Change and to seize the opportunities of the green economy” the Head of the Public Private Partnership from the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Said Mouline said “we as a continent are suffering from the impact of Climate Change and we believe we must all play a key role to play towards fighting climate change”.
The Kingdom of Morocco is by far ahead of other African Countries in terms of developing renewable. Mr. Said Mouline said the issue of developing renewable in their country is not a matter of money but is base on a policy set up by the Moroccan government and further reiterate the fact that “we have to change the concept and move towards climate change finance”.
The Private Sector plays a central role towards combating climate change. Like in many other countries and continents, the Private sector in Africa is financing many activities that may hinder the environment and Mr. Said Mouline said because of this, the Private Sector in Africa must involve in finding solutions that will help reduce the effect and impact of climate change in the world through involvement and innovations in manufacturing and recycling activities.
Speaking on the Africa Agriculture and Adaptation (Triple A Initiative), Mouline expressed the need for money in not only the mitigation part but also in adaptation activities as well. Drought he said is linked to Climate Change and in other countries farmers insured their farms against drought. This phenomenon is lacking in the Southern countries but Mr. Mouline promised that they are working and negotiating towards international insurances on drought and famine for countries in the Africa.
The President of the Scientific Committee for COP22 Mr. Nizar Baraka while speaking on “capacity building and the excellence centers network: What role for Africa”, said capacity building is essential for the effort towards Climate Change and noted that that is the reason why a network has been set in other to help build the capacity of organizations and institutions towards climate change.
He said “the capacity department is mobilizing efforts in other to find ways to mobilize huge amount of money for Climate Change financing by 2020”. As President of the COP22 Scientific Committee Mr. Baraka wants the Green Climate Fund to finance the Adaptation Fund. He urged Journalists who are part of the Civil Society to play a crucial role during the negotiations for the funding and financing.
Africa financial institutions are not yet prepared to finance green projects. As efforts towards making sure climate change issues are communicated to the public, the government of Morocco will by next year introduce special climate change and environment programmes in all schools and universities across the country.
Morocco had in the past hosted four Conference of Parties and officials confirmed that hosting this COP22 will be a smooth ride for the country and a pride for the African continent. More details about the visit in our next editions