The National Assembly yesterday ratified the Paris Agreement, less than a day after it was tabled.
The motion to ratify the agreement was tabled by Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta in the National Assembly on Wednesday
By the start of the week, there was no sign of the motion being tabled by Shifeta as it was not even on the agenda of the National Assembly, hence it came as a surprise to many when he tabled the motion in quick fashion.
“Namibia was one of the many countries that have not ratified the agreement, so this quick procession comes as no surprise. One can clearly see this was done to put Namibia in good light when the United Nations General Assembly kicks-off next week,” said a senior government source.
The Paris Agreement was adopted on 12 December 2015 at the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Paris from 30 November to 13 December 2015.
In accordance with its article 20, the Agreement shall be open for signature at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 22 April 2016 until 21 April 2017 by States and regional economic integration organizations that are Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Namibia joins Lao People’s Democratic Republic, United States of America and Cook Islands as countries that ratified the agreement this month.
As of yesterday, information from the official United Nations website indicated that only 27 parties of 197 Parties ratified the Agreement.
The Paris Agreement was opened for signature on 22 April 2016 at a high-level signature ceremony convened by the Secretary General in New York. At that ceremony, 174 States and the European Union signed the agreement and 15 States also deposited their instruments of ratification.
Currently, there are 180 signatories to the Paris Agreement. Of these, 27 States have also deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval accounting in total for 39.08 % of the total global greenhouse gas emissions.
The Agreement acts as a bridge between existing policies and climate-neutrality to strengthen society’s ability to deal with the impacts of climate change.
Shifeta said during his motivation for the motion on Wednesday, it is imperative that the 2015 Paris Agreement be premised on the recognition of development needs and poverty eradication priorities of developing countries, whilst emphasising the necessary leadership of developed countries in climate action.
The motion calls for the NA to endorse the agreement and in this regard avail itself on future engagements and negotiations that will seek the implementation of the Agreement.
About 197 countries agreed to the universal, legally binding, global climate agreement, including Namibia.
“We welcomed the outcome of the agreement, particularly the obligations under the Paris Agreement set out in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication,” Shifeta stated.
He indicated that Namibia agreed on mitigation to keep the global increase in temperature to well below 2 Degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts to limit temperature rise even further to 1.5 Degrees Celsius.
Namibia also agreed to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with, and recover from climate impacts and recognition of the importance of averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events.