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By Pita Ligaiula in Nairobi, Kenya
The 79-member ACP Group of States has been urged to speak with 'one voice' in the fight against climate change.
Deputy President of Kenya, Dr William Ruto made the remarks as World leaders are meeting in Madrid, Spain for the COP25 Conference on Climate Change.
Speaking at the official opening of the 110th session of the Africa, Carribean and Pacific(ACP)Council of Ministers Meeting in Nairobi, Dr Ruto told delegates the growing threat of climate change and the disruption it continues to cause must be addressed.
“It is a reality that although some of the ACP members in the pacific only contribute 0.03 percent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions, the millions of people who live there are experiencing some of the earliest and most severe consequences and some might run out of freshwater long before they run out of land.
“People are already feeling the effects of climate change across Africa. Evidence shows that the change in temperature has affected the health, livelihoods, food productivity, water availability, and overall security of our people.
“Over the past 25 years, the number of weather-related disasters, such as floods and droughts, has doubled, resulting in the region having a higher mortality rate from droughts than any other region,” Dr Ruto said.
In addition to this, Dr Ruto said projections estimate that climate change will lead to an equivalent of 2 percent to 4 percent annual loss in GDP in the region by 2040.
“I therefore urge that as a group of nations, we must continue to speak in one voice on this issue and work towards developing sustainable solutions that will support the most vulnerable of our population,” Dr Ruto told members of ACP Group of States.
Addressing the ACP Council of Ministers, Papua New Guinea Foreign Minister and International Trade, Patrick Pruaitch said it is time to move from rhetoric to action.
“As we steer ahead, we come across new challenges brought about by world-wide phenomena such as threats to multilateralism, environmental degradation, climatic changes, and natural disasters.
“Indeed, it is high time to transcend current inefficient discourse and implement measures aimed at tackling the growing global environment crisis and simultaneously strive for more equitable international economic relations that would be the basis for promoting sustainable development,” said Pruaitch.
He said ACP need to address these challenges with dedication and commitment because today’s vision is tomorrow’s reality.
“Climate Change is affecting our communities; therefore, we should brace ourselves to take the right decisions to overcome these challenges.
“These challenges require practical North-South, South-South triangular cooperation and the group should consolidate its relationship with existing partners and expand its horizons to accommodate new ones.
“At this critical juncture in the life of our Group, and although we still have to grapple with the drastic impact of natural disasters resulting from climate change, the picture is not all grim.
Indeed, a “triple win” is within the ACP’s grasp, as renewable technologies create opportunities to increase agricultural productivity, improve resilience to climate change and contribute to long-term reductions in dangerous carbon emissions,” Pruaitch told delegates in Nairobi.
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