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Rwanda becomes first African country to unfold new Paris agreement climate plan

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Despite being one of the poorest countries in the world, and contributing hardly anything to the current climate crisis, Rwanda has become one of the first countries to submit a new national climate plan, which will strengthen global efforts to tackle climate change ahead of the 16th Conference of Parties (COP26).

The ‘nationally determined contribution’, or NDC, will see a 16 per cent reduction in emissions compared to Rwanda’s current trajectory by 2030 and a further 22 per cent reduction if the country is helped with technology and finance from richer nations, bringing the total reduction to 38 per cent.

The NDC also outlines plans for adaptation across seven sectors to help the country adapt to the changing climate. Reacting to the development, Mohamed Adow, Director of Nairobi-based think tank Power Shift Africa, said: “It’s great to see the first African country stepping forward to submit a new climate plan as part of the Paris Agreement. What makes the Paris Agreement an effective tool for tackling climate change is this very act, the strengthening of climate action every five years.

“Africa has done the least to cause the climate crisis and suffers from it the most. But it has a vital role to play in tackling it and other countries should take note of this leadership and follow suit.

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“Rwanda is set to host a rescheduled Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and the leaders of fellow Commonwealth countries such as Boris Johnson, Justin Trudeau, Scott Morrison and Jacinda Ardern should take heed and ensure their own new climate plans are equally radical.”

The Vice President, Climate and Economics, World Resources Institute, Helen Mountford said: “As the first African country – and least developed country – to submit a strengthened climate commitment in 2020, Rwanda is demonstrating the kind of leadership that the world needs right now.

“The country’s plan to cut emissions and build resilience is significantly more robust than its Paris commitment five years ago, and it will offer important opportunities to generate jobs and development for its citizens.

“This is all the more critical as countries look at how to reboot growth following the COVID crisis. As host of the next Commonwealth heads of government summit, Rwanda has positioned itself as a beacon for ambitious climate action. Rwanda is an inspiration for other countries looking to step up their climate action. Major economies, in particular, should heed this signal.”

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Mohamed AdowNDC
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