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Gabon becomes first African country to submit UN climate action plan



Ban Ki-Moon

GABON has submitted its new climate action plan to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the first African country to do so.

This Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) comes well in advance of a new universal climate change agreement, which will be reached at the UN climate conference in Paris, in December this year.

With the submission by the Gabon of its climate action plan, well over 35 parties to the UNFCCC have formally submitted their INDCs, covering all the countries under the European Union plus the European Commission, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Switzerland and the United States.

The Paris agreement will come into effect in 2020, empowering all countries to act to prevent average global temperatures rising above two degrees Celsius and to reap the many opportunities that arise from a necessary global transformation to clean and sustainable development.

Developed countries are expected to do so as soon as possible and, with Mexico and Gabon, developing countries have also started to submit their INDCs well in advance.

Countries have agreed that there will be no back-tracking in these national climate plans, meaning that the level of ambition to reduce emissions will increase over time.

Countries under the UNFCCC have already finalized their negotiating text for the Paris agreement and formal negotiations will continue on the basis of this text at the next UN climate change meeting in Bonn from June 1 to 11. The text covers the options on the substantive content of the new agreement including mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, capacity building, and transparency of action and support.

“I deeply appreciate Gabon’s initiative and welcome this first INDC from an African nation,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC.

Ms Figueres is encouraging countries to come forward with their INDCs as soon as they are able, underlining their commitment and support towards this successful outcome in Paris. Governments agreed to submit their INDCs in advance of Paris. Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on

Climate Change (UNFCCC), said: “According to UNFCCC data, two thirds of industrialized countries covering 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions from the industrialized part of the world have now set out their ambition for the new agreement which comes into effect in 2020—importantly many of these contributions also speak to longer term aims representative of progressively increasing ambition over time.”

“Over the coming months, we expect many more nations to come forward to make their submissions public. The pace at which these contributions are coming forward bodes well for Paris and beyond,” she added.

“I deeply appreciate Gabon’s initiative and welcome this first INDC from an African nation,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC.

Meanwhile, in order to maximize the total number of nations contributing, a significant world-wide effort is underway to assist developing nations prepare their INDCs for submission, many of which are building on work linked with their Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs).

Governments, ranging from Australia, Germany and France to the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as UN agencies and intergovernmental organizations, are providing financial, technical and other assistance to around 100 developing countries.

These range from Bangladesh, Colombia, Senegal, Ethiopia and Gambia to Lebanon, Mali, Dominican Republic, Tunisia and Turkmenistan. For example, the French government has committed around three million Euros to support the preparation of INDCs of approximately 20 Least Developed Countries including Small Island Developing States.

Other major players include the Global Environment Facility and the UN Environment Programme; the European Union through programmes such as Clima South, Clima East or ClimDev; Germany through the GIZ; and the US through various channels including the Low Emission Development Strategies partnership.

Developed countries are also providing support through international initiatives and organizations such as the Low Emission Capacity Building (LECB) programme of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN).

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