Herunga opens sixth African Carbon Forum

WINDHOEK: Environment and Tourism Minister Uahekua Herunga has urged developed countries to avoid taking unilateral response measures which may harm developing countries’ economies.

“As developing countries, we are extremely concerned about the price of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs), which reduced drastically by almost 95 per cent. This scenario may frustrate the market approach to address climate change,” he said during the opening of the three-day sixth African Carbon Forum in the capital on Wednesday.

Herunga said Namibia believes the Kyoto Protocol is the only comprehensive, legally-binding instrument available to respond to climate change.

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). Its major feature is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialised countries and the European community for reducing Greenhouse gas emissions.

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) within the Protocol provides the robust rules needed, but Africa faces challenges on how to preserve these rules and construct a multilateral emissions’ trading system which is open to all interested participants.

“I am confident that together, we can make the CDM work for Africa. It is also pleasing to see how Africa is preparing for future evolutions of carbon markets through Nationally-Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD),” he stated.

The CDM, defined in Article 12 of the Protocol, allows a country with an emission-reduction or emission-limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol to implement an emission-reduction project in developing countries.

Such projects can earn saleable CER credits, each equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide, which can be counted towards meeting Kyoto targets.

The CDM is the first global, environmental investment and credit scheme of its kind, providing a standardised emissions’ offset instrument, CERs.

The mechanism stimulates sustainable development and emission reductions, while giving industrialised countries some flexibility in how they meet their emission reduction or limitation targets.

Herunga further stated that Namibia provides a good platform for carbon service companies to build and expand their businesses in the African region. The country also remains committed to developing carbon investments here to serve both the regional and global market.

The carbon market can make an important contribution to the objective of managing the challenges posed by climate change.

The carbon market currently comprises a compliance market made up of carbon emitters who are obligated to reduce their emissions and a voluntary market, in which organisations voluntarily reduce their carbon emissions.

The minister said the forum is timely because it takes place less than two years before the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris, where a new legally-binding instrument on climate change will be adopted.

The forum is an opportunity for participants to learn about the present and future of carbon markets, sources of climate finance, international climate change negotiations, examples of low-carbon development strategies and the opportunities to use carbon credits generated by the CDM more easily for voluntary purposes, in addition to their use in compliance market.

It was jointly organised by the UNFCCC, the United Nations’ Environment Programme (UNEP), the UNEP Risoe Centre (URC), the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Emissions’ Trading Association (IETA).

Over 50 participants from different African countries are taking part in the forum, which ends on Friday.