This year the UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP) on 31 October – 12 November 2021 in Glasgow. COP aims to bring together over 200 countries, parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and numerous non-governmental observer organisations for a global summit.
This year, COP26 is an important milestone as parties updated their nationally determined contributions (NDC) in the form of national climate change plans. These plans indicate actions for reducing emissions in order to keep the hope of holding global temperature rises in the range of 1.5-2.0 °C over preindustrial levels, as set out in the Paris Agreement. The NDC also indicate action in order to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Yet, the negotiations mostly focused on finance for climate action. Future funding from high-income countries for climate change adaptation in middle- and low-income countries as well as loss and damage is particularly relevant from an African perspective.
African countries face the dual challenge of trying to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (i.e., SDG 7 of Universal Access to energy) whilst still trying to reduce emissions. This is a dual challenge that other geographical areas face to a lesser extent, and is highlighted by the contrasting NDCs seen between low income and high income countries. South Africa remains a role model for the greater African continent, suggesting commitments made during COP26 and the progress to meet requirements set out in the Paris Agreement will ripple out to other African countries.