After the intense focus of the COP26 conference in Glasgow, what are the outcomes for east Africa, and the implications for our work in the region?
Like all NGOs working in countries on the frontline of the climate crisis we needed to see firm government commitments, and radical actions, to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.
This is the threshold identified in October 2018 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the world’s leading authority on climate science. Their report clearly demonstrated that warming above 1.5C would produce changes to the world’s climate system that would rapidly become irreversible.
“A rise of 1.5C is not an arbitrary number, it is not a political number. It is a planetary boundary, ” the eminent climate scientist Johan Rockström said categorically at the start of the conference.
Climate change is already dramatically impacting the farmers that Send a Cow works with says CEO Paul Stuart.
“We are already seeing erratic weather patterns and soil erosion leading to poor harvests. Limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees would still have a huge impact on the continent of Africa and the consequences worsen with each fractional increase above this threshold.”
Are the commitments strong enough?
Climate Action Tracker, which monitors climate policy action, assesses that the vast majority of countries around the world do not have measures in place that will meet the 1.5C goal.
UN Secretary General António Guterres said categorically that the deal did not go far enough and the world must "go into emergency mode."
“We must all take action now,” says Paul Stuart. “At Send a Cow we are ready. We know that our approach of regenerating land, protecting the natural environment, and increasing biodiversity works both in reversing some of the global harms of the climate crisis and immediately helping families grow more food.”
Titus Sagala, the organisation’s spokesperson on the climate crisis, expresses the view of experienced programme instigators in the countries most at risk.
“We are disappointed that the watered-down outcomes did not go far enough to address the climate crisis. We were very much looking to COP26 for strong resolutions. The disappointment is even greater at this time when most of the developing countries are still very affected by the challenges of Covid-19.”
“Of course we will continue with our important mitigation measures and justice campaigns. And we are looking to COP27 in Egypt next year and hope that countries will come back with stronger commitments and will follow through on their financial pledges.”