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Ethiopia signs Paris deal on climate change

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

April 23, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – El Nino-hit Ethiopia on Friday signed the Paris agreement on climate change at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which saw a record turnout for the signing of the much-anticipated deal.

Governor of Ethiopia’s Gambella region pictured with the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn during a visit to the region (FILE photo)

A record 175 countries, including the world’s top polluters China, the United States and India, signed the historic global deal at the UN headquarters in New York boosting hopes of quick action on combating global warming.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn also signed the historic Paris climate deal. Ethiopia has been spearheading Africa’s common position on climate change to make sure the continent speaks with one voice in global climate change negotiations.

Many African countries such as Ethiopia has managed to meet many of the millennium development goals including eradicating extreme poverty, and keep working hard to establish sustainable economy.

African negotiators, however, say climate change has become a growing threat to sustain those achievements and continent’s goals to lift millions of people out of poverty.

Previously, the Ethiopian Primer had said his country had reduced the number of citizens living below poverty line by more than half during the past 15 years, with hard work and support and stresses a need for sustained global partnership to overcome climate change effects.

Currently, Ethiopia is among some African countries severely hit by food insecurity caused by El Niño-induced drought.

The drought which is worst in decades led to sharp deterioration in food security and massive drop in agricultural and pastoral production forcing over 10 million Ethiopians to depend on food Aid.

Considering the outstanding roles Ethiopia played in previous climate change negotiations, last year, leaders of 30 nations who are members of Climate Vulnerable Forum elected the East African nation to chair the forum from for a period 2016- 2017.

Held on Earth Day, the historic Paris climate deal ceremony saw the largest ever one-day signing of an international agreement and is believed to turn the treaty operational within a year.

Friday’s landmark global climate deal is seen as a great news for vulnerable Africa which already is facing the harshest effects of climate change for a problem the continent didn’t cause.

But an effective implementation of the latest deal is hoped to transform Africa’s progress.

The latest move is said to be a major step forward for major polluters to collectively turn their words into deeds and there by realise global action to curb climate change.

“This is a moment in history” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the opening of the formal ceremony at the UN General Assembly.

The urgency of the climate change problem become more visible as the globe continues to heat up in record temperature levels causing melting of masses of glaciers and ice sheets rising sea levels.

“The world is in a race against time,” Ban Ki-moon said adding “The era of consumption without consequences is over”

“Today you are signing a new covenant with the future. This covenant must amount to more than promises,” he added

The agreement commits countries to cut global greenhouse gas emissions and slow the warming of the planet to just 2 degrees, or 1.5 degrees if possible.

The new deal is the result of a previous conference held in Paris in December, 2015 where 196 nations were party to the talks.

According to recent UN report, over 600,000 people have died from weather-related disasters globally in the past 20 years while at least 4.1 billion were subjected to different forms of harm.

(ST)

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