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African Countries Call Out 'Climate Injustice'

Gabon's President Ali Bongo Ondimba speaks during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, November 1, 2021.

African countries on Monday called for an end to "climate injustice" during the opening of Africa Climate Week, saying the continent causes less than 4% of global CO2 emissions but pays one of highest prices for global warming.

Government officials, international organizations, NGOs and the private sector from more than 60 African nations attended Monday's opening in Gabon's capital, Libreville, to prepare for the COP27 U.N. climate conference in Egypt in November.

Host President Ali Bongo Ondimba told the gathering the continent has to speak with one voice and offer "concrete" proposals for COP27.

"The time has come for Africans to take our destiny into our own hands," he said, emphasizing the global failure to meet climate targets.

"Our continent is blessed with all the necessary assets for sustainable prosperity, abundant natural resources... and the world's youngest and largest working population," he said.

"But Africa and the rest of the world must address climate change," when the U.N.'s intergovernmental climate panel "describes Africa as the most vulnerable continent.

"Droughts are causing extreme famines and displacing millions of people across the continent," Bongo said.

"Today, 22 millions of people in the Horn of Africa face starvation because of the drought and famine, countries in the south of the continent are regularly hit by cyclones, rising sea levels threaten cities such as Dakar, Lagos, Capetown and Libreville."

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, head of COP27, which will be held in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, said, "Despite contributing less than 4% of global emissions," Africa was "one of the most devastated by the impacts of climate change."

"Also, Africa is obliged, with limited financial means and scant levels of support, to spend about two to three per cent of its GDP per annum to adapt to these impacts," Shoukry said, calling it a "climate injustice."

Denouncing the failure of developed countries to deliver on their climate commitments, he warned, "There is no extra time, no plan B and there should also be no backsliding or backtracking on commitments and pledges."