By Elias Hakizimana.
Civil societies have urged governments to step up efforts in phasing out climate pollutants known as Hydro-Fluorocarbons in order to cool our abnormally warming planet – the earth – so as to mitigate the catastrophic effects global warming could have on people’s lives and the environment.
Global warming, also referred to as climate change, according to Wikipedia, is the observed century-scale rise in the average temperature of the Earth’s climate system and its related effects.
They were speaking during a two-day civil society capacity building workshop taking place in Kigali from June 21st to 22nd, 2018 on raising their voices on the issue with a particular focus on the mitigation ambitions of (Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Governments and Civil Society.
The call is based on the fact that African countries including Rwanda have been challenged with the global warming trends, and phasing down the short lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPS) that are root causes of cancers, food insecurity and related damages.
The efforts are in line with implementing agreements on climate change such as Paris agreements and Kigali Montreal protocol.
However, some countries are yet to ratify to the agreements, which activists in civil society organisations worry might affect the targets to limit global temperatures to less than 2 celicius degrees.
Talking about why Kenya, as his country, did no ratify the Kigali amendment protocol, Bensoni Ireri, a Kenyan official working with Christian Aid, an organisation that works closely with Rwanda Climate change and development network (RCCDN) explained
“I think the reason why Kenyan Government has not ratified the Kigali amendment protocol that aims at phasing down such global warming, is that it is an issue of priorities at national level, and at the assembly level, … the ministry of environment has prepared all the documents for the ratification and of course as a process, it is supposed to be discussed in the national assembly and it was presented in the national assembly,” said Ireri.
He added that because of other priorities Kenya has put in place as far as parliament is concerned, the Kigali protocol has not been discussed up to now but they know very well that Kenya plays a critical role in the run up to the Kigali amendment.
“So we have not yet ratified it, however as the civil society organisations we will continue to put pressure because for us the protocol is quite important, especially as for African countries, we have been facing the issues of climate change, we can look back and think on the things that have been destroying the Ozone [layer],” she said.
“Action is not taken against chemicals that have been destroying the environment. It is a place for CSOs to put pressure but at the same time also to build capacity of our parliamentarians so that they can be able to understand what the urgency is, and the significance in ratifying the Kigali amendment,” he observed.
An emphasis was put on the four critical areas of amendments focusing on the African priorities, including the challenges and opportunities.
Faustin Vuningoma, coordinator of Rwanda Climate Change and Development network (RCCDN) said that they first build capacity of their members and Rwandans in helping the government address the issue of climate change adaptation.
“You can’t combat something without knowing its effects and underlying reasons; it is necessary that Rwandans get sensitised to climate change and factors causing global warming, effects of hydro-fluorocarbons in order to adapt to climate change,” said Vuningoma.
For Theophile Dusengimana, Environment and climate change policy Specialist at the Rwanda’s Ministry of Environment, the workshop brings efforts to call governments on tackling environment and climate change issues by considering challenges and opportunities that will be discussed through the workshop.
“Civil society voices are very supportive to Kigali amendment together with the private sector and community engagement to keep our climate viable in order to support life of people and sustainable development,” said Dusengimana.
Once the hydro-fluorocarbons used in fridges and air conditioners are reduced, it can contribute to a reduction of 0.5 to the global warming in one century (until 20100).
“We are expecting the Kigali amendment implementation to kick off by January 2019 after ratification of at least 20 countries. Last year this target was achieved and we have now 38 countries worldwide that ratified it, African countries are still few. So, the journey is still long,” he observed.
The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol was ratified by 97 countries. African countries have to reduce 4% of the global warming and the 96 remaining are for European industrial countries.
Elias Hakizimana @theinspirerpubl
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