Africa refining strategies for int'l negotiations on climate change

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Representatives of the Conference of the 10 African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) met on Tuesday at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa to streamline Africa's negotiating team and refining strategies towards international negotiations on climate change.

The Meeting of the representatives was also held to prepare the next CAHOSCC meeting in the margins of the 15th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly scheduled for July 2010 in Kampala, Uganda.

The meeting will further discuss negotiation strategies for Copenhagen (COP 16).

In his introductory remark at the opening ceremony of the meeting, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Erastus Mwencha said the AU attaches significant importance to climate change negotiations as the continent is affected by the impacts of climate change.

The deputy chairperson said AU member states should put their positions on climate change in correct manner.

"Given the seriousness of the negotiations which culminated in the Copenhagen accord the strategic approach must be regionally and globally consulted and advanced," said Mwencha.

"Regionally, African member states should endorse the accord; but also put their positions in a correct order," he said.

"Globally, the developed countries should appreciate that Africa minimally contributes to global warming, but it is a prime affected by its consequences," he added.

The deputy chairperson also said the developed nations should provide financial resources to Africa that it sustain its economic growth.

"Africa must be provided with resources for the damage caused on its economy as a result of global warming. Developed countries are responsible to provide resources for Africa to sustain the current economic growth but also to make Africa adapt climate change and climate variability," he emphasized.

The deputy chairperson said Africans need to keep on calling the developed nations to implement their commitments made at international negotiations on climate change.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who is also chief negotiator of Africa at international climate talks, said the AU at its last summit endorsed the Copenhagen accord despite its very well known limitations.

This meeting of the representatives was a preparation for the next climate talks in Cancun, Mexico.

According to Meles, Africa has two major issues to address before the conference in Cancun.

"One is the mechanism through which Africa negotiates as a single team is completely an unprecedented thing for us; and we need to streamline our negotiating mechanism at all levels so that losses are ironed before Cancun," he said.

"The second point is that I think is paramount significance to us the African Union is the implementation of the Copenhagen accord in general, and its financial provisions in particular. Even if the African Union Summit endorsed the Copenhagen accord there is a wide spread skepticism about the implementation of the accord expressed during the last Summit," he added.

"There are early indications that skepticism expressed during the Summit were very well founded; it's in this environment that our negotiating teams will be negotiating," said Meles.

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