COP21: A Message from Sudan

COP21-SudanOn Monday November 30th the COP21 commenced in Paris with a leaders’ event at Le Bourget. Each head of state carried out a speech, and statements were different in their contexts let alone the fact that some heads of state had the opportunity to speak and skipped their turn. It is maybe because they are not ambitious enough to adopt serious climate action in their respective countries. Many heads of state are not present at COP21 Paris talks, even though the majority were cautious to attend. Many reasons can be behind the non-attendance of prominent leaders, the foremost being security concerns and lack of interest.

Some of those who spoke addressed their short-term goals, long-term goals and the impacts that are affecting their people and lands. For instance, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Dessalegn said: “Climate change threatens our lives, livelihoods and development gains”. He further added: “Every nation needs to contribute and contributions need to be differentiated”. The Prime Minister’s speech clearly emphasizes the need for adopting climate action throughout the world not just from developed countries and by any means via resources existing a country.

Although, the Least Developed Countries Fund was announced from 11 states constituting of pledges worth 248 million USD. Those states are Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. We find among these countries some of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases such as the US, yet it is hard to consider this as a compensation to the amount of emissions it produces.

On the other hand, President Uhuru Muiagai Kenyatta said: “Kenya was among the first developing countries to submit an ambitious INDC to the UNFCCC Secretariat, despite the fact we contribute a mere 0.1 percent of total global emissions”. In fact, the President here has a point because the obligations that his country might be put through might affect Kenya’s development for no good reason other than the humanity aspect. However, developed countries emerges from the whole situation as greedy ones that just want to enjoy man-made life luxuries, and that contradicts with the fact that they claim having plans for ecosystem-based solutions for climate change, which is something indecisive to their opinion on developing counterparts as inferiors to them.

Not to mention what the South African President Jacob Zuma said: “Paris must deliver a legally binding agreement which is based on equity and differentiation”. Another ambitious statement but only this time from a leader that is contributing in terms of emissions more than Ethiopia besides Egypt and maybe Algeria, which leaves the question – What could be behind it?

It is hoped that Sudan will play a more active role in next climate change summit to be held in Morocco. Sudan should be aware of the fact that countries around the world are taking proactive steps for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and the country can not afford to ignore the threat posed by climate change, and it must cooperate with such ambitious countries in Africa as Ethiopia.

Ali Mohamed Ahmed

Ali Mohamed Ahmed volunteers for the Arab Youth Climate Movement (Sudan) as a Projects Assistant. He holds Bachelor of Science (Hons) from University of Khartoum, and is commencing Master's degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Khartoum in order to fulfill his passion to become an environment expert playing a vital role in raising environmental awareness in Sudan.

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