President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni says Africa should be at the forefront of fighting climate change before it demands the developed countries to fulfill their pledges.

While closing the Inter-Ministerial Conference on Migration, Environment and Climate Change on Friday, Museveni observed that as Africans quarrel with Europeans to limit greenhouse gas emissions, there is an urgent need to stop local destruction of the environment.

The President noted that by destroying ecosystems such as wetlands and forests, Africans have found themselves contributing to the changing climate in the region. Giving an example, Museveni highlighted that nearly 40 percent of the rain received in Uganda is from wetlands in Uganda and South Sudan as well as forests in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Museveni said that the destruction of such ecosystems would spell doom to the local citizens, an action which cannot be blamed on the developed countries.

The world’s wealthiest nations, commonly known as G-20, account for 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. However, scientists say poorer countries, particularly in Africa, are suffering the worst effects of climate change.

Africa and other developing nations have observed that while they have contributed little towards global warming, they are the most affected by the effects of climate change.

Currently, the East and Horn of Africa are experiencing the worst drought in four decades after four consecutive failed rainy seasons, millions of people across the region have been displaced and are at risk of famine.

The drought has already led to multiple deaths in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. The increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events resulting from climate change directly force people to move, negatively impacting livelihoods.

These movements create new humanitarian needs and place pressure on resources vital for migrants, displaced persons and host communities, competing for already scarce resources.

Ministers attending the conference in Munyonyo said that the developed countries are negating their commitments to help Africa adapt and mitigate the effects of global warming blamed for the climatic changes.

They observed that while the west has been committing to provide funding and technologies for climate change adaptation and mitigation, they are yet to deliver.

In 2009, the said rich nation pledged to give developing countries $100 billion a year to help them deal with climate change.

While commenting on the declaration made by the states that attended the conference, Keriako Tobiko, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for the ministry of environment and forestry who also represented President Uhuru Kenyatta, said that it is time to assign responsibility to those who are accountable.

Tobiko added that the declaration was too sweet and diplomatic yet it’s not business as usual. According to him, the said nations control 80 percent of the total global Gross domestic product-GDP and have the responsibility under the international conventions thus a need to tell them off to play their role.

South Sudan’s Salva Kiir also occurred with Tobiko, noting as the developed countries keep extending the dates of meeting their pledges, it might come when it’s already too late given the fact that climate change effects are already wreaking havoc in the region and entire Africa.

Rose Kobusinge, a youth representative at the conference, also said that in the past, youth voices in Africa have been heard pressuring governments to take action on the issue of climate change while oblivious to the beast whose actions are wreaking havoc on the continent of the black man.

According to Kobusingye, the ‘beast’ are the wealthy countries that continue to release greenhouse gases, which have an impact on Africa and result in starvation and droughts.

All delegates praised the youngest speaker, and she couldn’t help but urge African leaders to band together and hold the mage global polluters accountable.

Abdirahman Abdishakur, a special envoy for the President of Somalia, noted that the conference took place at a critical time when the great lakes region, East and horn of Africa is in turmoil, partly because of effects of climate change that are forcing millions of people and their cattle to escape their native places.

Abdishakur pointed out that in addition to the continuous violence in their nation, over 2.9 million people have allegedly been uprooted by climate change, and many more are at risk of starvation due to the worst drought in forty years.

In addition, the country and its neighbours Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti have had four unsuccessful rainy seasons in a row.

According to Abdishakur, what worries the government and people of Somalia is that they are suffering the effects of a situation that they did not cause and that is presently causing greater strife in the states as populations try to flee to less impacted places.

The discussion is coming as the world prepares for the upcoming 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change-COP27 due in November 2022 in Egypt.

Ovais Sarmad, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also sided with the leaders noting that the climate crisis is bad and getting worse thus a need to stop promising and put into action given the fact that no one in the world is immune to effects of climate change.

Sarmad added that by cutting greenhouse emissions countries will be pumping into the atmosphere by nearly half by 2030. he however worried that the world is far from meeting the goal but rather increasing the emission by 14 percent thus predicting doom.

Supporting the delegates’ appeal, the Sarmad highlighted that the COP27 climate change conference should offer a forum for global reflection on the seriousness of the current situation, asking for bold action, top decision, and responsibility.

He also commended the east and horn of African states for developing a declaration on the crucial nexus of migration, the environment, and climate change, which needs consideration to ensure that it is mainstreamed into global, regional, and national climate change policy frameworks and strategies.

A declaration was signed by ministers from more than 12 countries after the three-day conference. This declaration will be used to express regional priorities at COP27, with a particular focus on encouraging other stakeholders to support initiatives that would address the negative effects of climate change-induced migration.

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