Ruto rallies PAP on climate change
George Maponga in South Africa
Kenyan President William Ruto has challenged the Pan African Parliament(PAP) to be the arrowhead of the continent’s onslaught to tackle an array of challenges bedevilling the continent especially the ghost of climate change that is giving Africa nightmares despite minuscule contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.
Officially opening the PAP Climate Change summit at the continental legislative body’s seat in Midrand today, President Ruto lamented the negative effects of climate change on Africa despite the continent not contributing much to greenhouse gas emissions blamed for spawning global warming.
The Kenyan President was also officially opening the Second Session of the 6th parliament of PAP that runs from May 15 to the beginning of next month. The continental legislative body led by its President Chief Fortune Charumbira kicked off its session on Monday with a climate change summit.
He said PAP should pivot towards becoming the hot spot of solutions to an array of challenges hampering sustainable development for peoples on the continent and humanity in general.
“The Pan African Parliament is a critical organ of the African Union, whose full institutional potential is going to become manifest as we rally to formulate effective and sustainable solutions to the tremendous crises confronting our peoples and humanity in general,” said President Ruto.
“This parliament goes further than the sum of its legislative, representative and oversight mandates for Africa. It provides a fundamental deliberative forum where the peoples of Africa gather to reason exhaustively together and develop African solutions to Africa’s problems.”
President Ruto said Africa has a key role to play in combating climate change.
“The need to urgently undertake a fundamental shift in understanding Africa’s global role is overwhelmingly evident on the subject of climate change. At the moment, conversations about climate change in Africa focus on the fact that Africa’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions is minimal at only 4 per cent, yet the impact of consequent climate change on our people is huge.”
“The discourse also mainly focuses on the important questions of compensation for loss and damage, and funding for adaptation and resilience. This focus, on matters that are clearly important and urgent, tends to dominate and obscure the equally imperative matter of radical economic transformation. I consider rapid economic growth to be indispensable to the achievement of stable and dignified livelihoods for all as well as the creation of lasting resilience. At the same time, I worry about mainstream perspectives where prosperity is often regarded, ironically, as incompatible with environmental sustainability and relegated to the margins of the global agenda for Africa.”
“As a matter of fact, many of Africa’s global partners evasively skirt around this necessary conversation, making it difficult and uncomfortable. Explicitly and implicitly, they encourage Africa to focus on managing the consequences of climate change, since only others in the Global North are understood to possess the capacity to solve the global problem of such character and magnitude. This unjust dynamic is unnecessary and inappropriate, and only serves to hold us back from fulfilling our potential,” said President Ruto.
He also challenged rich industrialised nations to be responsible and take ownership in mitigating the effects of climate change.