One of the most contentious topical debates at the moment is to do with the increasingly negative impact of climate change on developing countries.
This debate is likely to take centre stage, reaching a peak in global politics as the different players put forward their positions, in advance of the United Nations sponsored, Climate Change Conference, slated for December, in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Of concern for African countries is the fact that they contribute least to climate change, yet they are the most affected. The impact of which they feel, on a daily basis, from severe droughts, to cyclones, heat-waves, and main water sources drying up.
Food security in these countries is therefore severely compromised, impacting on human development. Which all leads to the never ending cycle of poverty on the continent.
It is in this vein, that African countries in particular, have advocated for financial support in pursuance of low carbon development, as part of their poverty eradication efforts.
This means the discourse on climate change has to take into account, the risks involved especially for the poorer countries, and measures put in place to cushion them against these.
This is the background against which the Rwandan government has come out in strong support of British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown’s proposal on climate change.
Brown proposes a global fund of US$ 100 billion, to mitigate the impact of climate change in the developing world, in the document ‘Road to Copenhagen’ recently published by his government.
This fund will supplement the existing development aid already in place.
The Rwandan government brings to our attention, national policies and programmes it has put in place to deal with the impact of climate change. They include development of alternative energy sources, such as biomass, hydro-power, geothermal, solar and wind.
However, as the debate goes on in framing a post Kyoto Protocol agreement, what is important this time round, is the emerging consensus on the need for a paradigm shift from the past.
This means setting mitigating targets, post 2012, while also focusing on the roles of the various players.