Chissano draws ACP-EU parliamentarians to climate change debate

By The Southern Times Writer

Windhoek- There is a need to devise extensive strategies on how to deal with the adverse effects of climate change, former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano has said.

Chissano made the remarks last Wednesday during the 31st session of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of nations and European Union (ACP-EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA).

He said climate change continues to pose major threats to the development of countries globally, and have far-reaching consequences on weather patterns in some countries. Chissano said if nothing concrete is achieved to cushion the effects of climate change, economic development could be seriously hampered, especially in the developing world.

He cited the extreme diverse weather conditions his country, which he said is threatening his government’s development agenda.

“We have heavy rains in the northern part of Mozambique, which has displaced families and left many stranded without a roof over their heads.

“At the same time, we are battling intense drought in the south of the country, which has affected food production in that part of the country,” he said. Such diverse weather patterns place pressure on governments to thoroughly address the threats of climate change.

“At this pace, some island nations are at risk of disappearing, while the fertility of the soil can be seriously impacted in agriculture-based economies worldwide.”

Climate change has resulted in drought-prone areas becoming drier, while wet and tropical regions become wetter.

Low-income countries have been at the receiving end of most of the adverse effects of climate change, with warmer days and nights, more unpredictable rains and larger and longer heat waves being the order of the day.

Realising these concerns, the latest United Nations Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris, France, directed in 2015 that the issue receive immediate attention.

As such, COP21 negotiated the ‘Paris Agreement’, which among others intends to limit global carbon emissions as a way of curtailing the effects of climate change.

Chissano, who served as president of Mozambique between 1986 and 2005, also called on countries within the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of countries (ACP) and the European Union (EU) to guard against issues that could spark inter-state conflicts.

Conflicts between states, although they have diminished post-cold war era, could seriously derail developmental objectives of such states, he said. Chissano is also the current co-chairperson of the High Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development.

He said conflict between states seriously impact development, as governments tend to focus more on guarding against these threats as opposed to providing for their citizens.

The former head of state said such conflicts are disruptive in nature, as they largely target civilians and property.

“Inter-state conflicts are not confined to a certain area, which makes them even more destructive in nature. As such, we need to look at how we can work out matters amicably to prevent such conflicts,” he said.

Chissano said inter-state conflicts may have a ripple effect, as they could pose a danger to security situations in other countries not necessarily involved in the conflict.

He said conflicts can lead to a proliferation of small arms, which are easy to transport across borders.

“There is no telling what weapons smuggled outside these conflict areas can be used for. As such, it is vital that countries avoid inter-state conflicts altogether.”

He, however, noted that there is a glimmer of hope as far as these conflicts are concerned, as they have been on the decrease in recent years.

Chissano attributed the decrease to deepening of regional integration and the realisation of the high economic costs of war.

June 2016
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