The Chair of the African Group of Negotiators (AGN), Mr. Dlamini Emmanauel, has expressed cautious optimism at the outcome of the ongoing UN climate conference in Doha, Qatar, but emphasized that effective presence at working sessions by delegates from Africa would be critical.
In the first formal meeting with Dr. Fatima Denton, the Coordinator the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), based at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the chief negotiator said what Africa brings home from Doha would depend on a clear mastery of the issues by the negotiators, according to the Information and Communication Service of ECA at the Doha meetings.
?As we move towards the Ministerial level, it is clear that our delegates need a better grasp of ?the issues, and not just the position that other partners hold on those issues, but why they hold them?, he said in a press statement.
?You see, if we are not present during the discussions; or, if we do not show a clear understanding of the issues, we would neither be able to lead them nor infuse our position into the final documents of the Conference?, he said.
He admitted the existence of some capacity gaps among new negotiators but said the lead negotiators could ably represent the continent, despite the ever-changing rough world of climate negotiations.
Dr. Fatima Denton, who has managed several climate change programmes across Africa and a veteran of COP negotiations said that she understands the nature of challenges that negotiators often face and assured the African Group of ACPC?s willingness to continue providing technical assistance to the AGN.
Earlier, Emmanauel warned that any future agreement coming out from Doha should be more than just a ?mitigation deal?.
ECA is the leading UN agency engaged in the economic development of Africa and countries of the region look up to it for technical assistance to buttress their negotiating positions on climate change and sustainable development issues as a whole.
ACPC which is the main African-based organization that provides continuous technical support to the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) has experts at the COP 18 in Doha to support AGN with background research and drafting work as the negotiations proceed.