Riyadh: African countries need to be compensated for the environmental damage done by industrial nations, the chairperson of the African Union group of nations has insisted.
Speaking at the UN Climate Change Conference, also known as COP27, Macky Sall, who is also president of Senegal, said his continent is seeing the impact of climate change “every day” thanks to extreme weather events.
He said countries must implement the Paris Agreement, and pointed to the work Africa has done in this regard through its Great Green Wall initiative which brought together 11 states in the Sahel-Sahara region.
“Although we contribute less than 4 percent of greenhouse gases, Africa is behind low carbon development; we’re fighting for climate resilience. We think this must be a goal to achieve carbon neutrality by a reasonable timeframe,” Sall said.
“Every day, we are seeing extreme weather events — (a) testimony to climate change. Now, more than ever, we must act to save our planet,” he added.
Sall highlighted that Africa contributes little to generate greenhouse gases, yet it has been undertaking activities to restore land and woods to encourage a forest-based economy and livestock activities.
Pointing to the Congo Basin Forest, Sall described the country as one of the planet’s rare “green lungs.”
“We favor a green and equitable transition instead of taking decisions that harm our development processes, including universal access to electricity which still deprives 600 million Africans,” he said.
“That’s what remains in terms of tropical forests. For our planet, it means that we host one of the rare green lungs of our planet. And, of course, all these can sequester carbon,” Sall added.
Calling to action to adapt to climate change, he said that debt is often used to create green development.
“The implementation of adaptation is something that grants and donations should fund as per agreed conventions,” he said.
“We have our adaptation fund and partner countries, and together in September, we launched a call for action to implement the program to speed up adaptation in Africa,” he added.