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HomeAfrica-NewsAfrica: 'Going back empty-handed': African media perspectives on the African COP

Africa: ‘Going back empty-handed’: African media perspectives on the African COP

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Sharm el-Sheikh — The 27th United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP27) comes to its official close on Friday, November 18 after two weeks of intense negotiations in the resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh , Egypt. With little consensus on the draft cover story, the summit could well drag on into the weekend.

This COP, the third in Africa after COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco, and COP17 in Durban, South Africa, was billed as an “African COP.” Discussions were expected to focus on the urgent actions needed to address the growing impacts of climate change, especially on frontline communities in Africa and vulnerable countries around the world.

At a pre-COP conference in Rwanda last month, Mohamed Adow, founder and director of Power Shift Africa, said: “Africa accounts for less than 3% of global emissions, but we are the ones who are severely affected by the climate change We suffer the most largely due to emissions from rich countries that are big emitters The COP27 conference in Egypt is a golden opportunity for Africa to come together and make a strong case for justice climatic”.

To that end, the Internews Earth Journalism Network, in partnership with the Stanley Center for Peace and Security, has supported six African journalists (amongst 14 other journalists from low- and middle-income countries) to cover the COP. as part of its Climate Change program. Media Partnership Program (CCMP) i .

” It is critical that African journalists cover global climate summits like this. They are helping to shape public opinion, as audiences back home benefit from daily updates on the negotiations and, at the end of the day, that informed debate leads to a better climate policies,” said veteran journalist and media trainer David Akana, who is supporting journalists to cover the proceedings on the ground in Egypt.

For many of these journalists, the climate crisis is personal.

“My mother’s home was devastated by the recent floods that killed more than 600 people in Nigeria,” said Paul Omorogbe, a CCMP member and journalist for the nigerian grandstand . “The videos I received showed how the city located in Delta State was completely inundated by flood waters. People were displaced and livelihoods were destroyed. It was an emotionally disturbing experience to watch the footage. Certainly with the The way things work in this country, it will take a long time for the community to recover. Until now, people have relied on community support. For example, in my church, we have raised money to send to our brothers whose churches and homes were affected by the flooding. There is little help from the state and federal government reaching the victims,” ​​he said.

In Liberia, frontline communities are also recovering from the impacts of sea level rise and coastal erosion. “‘In the last five years, my country has witnessed the gradual disappearance of a large part of its coastal lands. It has destroyed hundreds of houses and at the same time heavy downpours have caused the rivers to overflow, causing flooding and displacement of some rural residents,” said CCMP member Evelyn Kpadeh Seagbeh, a Liberian journalist who reports for FM/TV power .

Pauline Ongaji, CCMP Fellow and journalist for the daily nation , Kenya, shared that his country, like the rest of the Horn of Africa, is facing the worst drought ever recorded in the last 40 years. “People have starved and farmers have lost their crops and animals,” she said.

Cameroon has been hit hard by both floods and droughts. Killian Ngala, a Cameroonian CCMP fellow who reports for temporary landscape magazine, shared that flooding in the country’s far north region has destroyed more than 20,000 homes, inundated farmland and left thousands homeless. “Drought is also a big problem. Last year, for example, people died in the region when farmers and herders fought over dwindling water resources,” she added.

While hopes were high that this summit could be a crucial turning point for developing countries in Africa and beyond, who collectively pushed for concrete action on climate finance, the mood at the UNFCCC media center in Sharm el-Sheikh during these final hours has become reflective.

Ngala shared that the general sentiment is that Africa, which had longed for a loss and damage facility to materialize, appears to be returning empty-handed and could have made a better case for its position at the COP. “It’s a shame that Cameroon’s voice is chronically missing from meetings of world leaders, especially given the urgency of preserving Earth’s ‘second lung’, the Congo Basin,” she said.

Liberian representatives were also absent at key moments, including when civil society groups called for reparations and debt cancellation for the least developed countries, Seagbeh said.

“From my point of view, the African group of negotiators has not been able to move the needle on climate action,” Omorogbe added. “Their focus has been on getting finance, and with some progress now in carbon markets (which has been criticized by civil society as a false solution), we know little about how it will actually affect or benefit local communities.”

Urging the fellows to have realistic expectations of what can be achieved at global multilateral conferences like this, Akana noted that their work continues when they return home, as African journalists will need to not only report on what polluters are doing historical. – or not to do; they must also hold their own governments accountable for their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and actions to build climate resilience.