Creecy cranks up the heat on wealthy nations ahead of COP27

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Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Barbara Creecy.
Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Barbara Creecy.
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  • Minister Barbara Creecy says most African nations have had to rely on their own resources to combat climate change.
  • The minister echoed previous calls for wealthy nations to support the developing world overcome the climate crisis financially.
  • COP27 will be held on African soil for the second time, and the focus is turning toward the implementation of prior commitments.
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Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Barbara Creecy has put the spotlight on rich nations once more to do their bit in financially supporting the developing world to overcome the climate crisis.

The minister spoke at a pre-COP27 summit held in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday. Delegates from about 50 countries are expected to attend the talks, including US climate envoy John Kerry.

In her address, Creecy noted that Africa is one of the most impacted regions, despite having contributed "insignificantly" to the crisis.

"… Africa has continued to make substantial investments towards climate change adaptation, using mostly its own domestic resources," Creecy said. This is due to the "failure" of developed countries to bear their "historical responsibility" to honour their commitments to support developing countries, she added.

COP27, which will be held on African soil for the second time, kicks off in Egypt's resort city, Sharm el Sheikh, in November. Creecy said that COP27 would be critical for Africa. The focus will be on funding support for adaptation, loss and damages associated with climate change. Historically, funding support has been skewed towards mitigation, that is, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Funding for adaptation will help countries build resilience toward climate change which is intensifying extreme weather events such as heatwaves, droughts and heavy rainfall.

"The urgent need is to adapt now while we build resilience for the future. We can only avoid loss and minimise damage with the appropriate scale of public finance that does not exacerbate the indebtedness of Africa," said Creecy.

The minister called for particular focus on vulnerable people in communities – to support their health and well-being and food and water security, among other things impacted by climate change.

There needs to be a "clear roadmap" on how adaptation finance will work – at Glasgow, it was decided that adaptation finance should double by 2025, Creecy said.

"This roadmap, as stated in the AMCEN [African Ministerial Conference on the Environment] Dakar decisions, should include projected annual contributions, the timing of such contributions, and the multilateral institutions that will channel these resources to developing countries," Creecy said.

READ | Rich nations to face climate pressure at pre-COP27 talks in DR Congo

Creecy reiterated previous criticisms of developed nations for failing to honour a commitment to mobilise $100 billion in funding annually by 2020. Creecy said it is important for nations to deliver on this commitment to 2025 – to build trust and faith in these multilateral processes.

"Our call for developed countries to deliver on their commitments to meet their goal and ensure progression of efforts in the ongoing mobilisation of climate finance is a fair one," Creecy said.

In recent weeks United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres similarly called for bolder action by nations to support vulnerable communities affected by loss and damage brought on by climate change. He proposed countries impose windfall taxes on fossil fuel companies - which have contributed to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. 

The implementation of commitments will also be key at the next COP27, Creecy noted. Implementation will be reflected in climate finance, capacity building and technology transfer.

"This is important if we are to transition from negotiations to implementation," Creecy added.

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