Peace in Ukraine

Gerald J. Nyerere

Russia’s military aggression towards Ukraine led to unspeakable loss of lives and destruction and has been grave breach of International Law and despicable invasion of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine

However it has been clear that NATO’s further expansion could have led to crisis.

Ted Galen Carpenter in his article in The Guardian regarding this crisis, wrote: “It would be extraordinarily difficult to expand NATO eastward without that action being viewed by Russia as unfriendly. Even the most modest schemes would bring the alliance to the borders of the old Soviet Union. Some of the more ambitious versions would have the alliance virtually surround the Russian Federation itself.” I wrote those words in 1994, in my book Beyond NATO: Staying Out of Europe’s Wars, at a time when expansion proposals merely constituted occasional speculation in foreign policy seminars in New York and Washington. He added that expansion “would constitute a needless provocation of Russia”.

What we can observe regarding legal system of Ukraine, until 8 June 1995, Ukraine’s supreme law was the Constitution (Fundamental Law) of the Ukrainian SSR (adopted in 1978, with numerous later amendments). On 8 June 1995, President Leonid Kuchma and Speaker Oleksandr Moroz (acting on behalf of the parliament) by then signed the Constitutional Agreement for the period until a new constitution could be drafted.

Ukraine’s first constitution since independence was adopted during an overnight parliamentary session after almost 24 hours of debate of 27–28 June 1996, unofficially known as “the constitutional night of 1996.” The Law No. 254/96-BP ratifying the constitution, nullifying previous constitutions and the Agreement was ceremonially signed and promulgated in mid-July 1996.
According to a ruling of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, the constitution took force at the moment when the results of the parliamentary vote were announced on 28 June 1996 at approx. 9 a.m. Kyiv Time. Ukraine was the last of the post-Soviet states to adopt its own constitution. On Constitution Day 2018, President Petro Poroshenko remarked that the 1710 Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk is the predecessor of Ukraine’s current constitution. On 7 February 2019, the Verkhovna Rada voted to amend the constitution to state Ukraine’s strategic objectives as joining the European Union and NATO.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy

The President of Ukraine, Mr Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy was born in 25 January 1978. He is a Ukrainian politician, former actor and comedian who is the sixth and current President of Ukraine.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy grew up as a native Russian speaker in Kryvyi Rih, a major city in the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast of central Ukraine. Prior to his acting career, he obtained a degree in law from the Kyiv National Economic University. He then pursued comedy and created the production company Kvartal 95, which produces films, cartoons, and TV shows including Servant of the People, in which Zelenskyy played the role of President of Ukraine. The series aired from 2015 to 2019 and was immensely popular. A political party bearing the same name as the television show was created in March 2018 by employees of Kvartal 95.

Zelenskyy announced his candidacy for the 2019 Ukrainian Presidential Election on the evening of 31 December 2018, alongside the New Year’s Eve address of President Petro Poroshenko on 1+1 TV Channel. A political outsider, he had already become one of the front-runners in opinion polls for the election. He won the election with 73.2 per cent of the vote in the second round, defeating Poroshenko. Identifying as a populist, he has positioned himself as an anti-establishment, anti-corruption figure.

As President, Zelenskyy has been a proponent of e-government and unity between the Ukrainian-speaking and Russian-speaking parts of the country’s population. His communication style heavily utilises social media, particularly Instagram. His party won a landslide victory in a snap legislative election held shortly after his inauguration as President. During his administration, Zelenskyy oversaw the lifting of legal immunity for members of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic recession, and some progress in tackling corruption in Ukraine. Critics of Zelenskyy claim that in taking power away from the Ukrainian oligarchs, he has sought to centralise authority and strengthen his personal position.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy promised to end Ukraine’s protracted conflict with Russia as part of his presidential campaign, and attempted to engage in dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mr Zelenskyy’s administration faced an escalation of tensions with Russia in 2021, culminating in the launch of an ongoing full-scale Russian invasion in February 2022. Zelenskyy’s strategy during the Russian military buildup was to calm the Ukrainian populace and assure the international community that Ukraine was not seeking to retaliate. He initially distanced himself from warnings of an imminent war, while also calling for security guarantees and military support from NATO to “withstand” the threat. After the commencement of the invasion, Zelenskyy declared martial law across Ukraine and general mobilisation. His leadership during this crisis has won him widespread international admiration, and he has been described as a symbol of Ukrainian resistance.

Ukraine and NATO

Relations between Ukraine and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) started in 1992. Ukraine applied to begin a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) in 2008. Plans for NATO membership were shelved by Ukraine following the 2010 presidential election in which Viktor Yanukovych, who preferred to keep the country non-aligned, was elected President. Amid the Euromaidan unrest, Yanukovych fled Ukraine in February 2014. The interim Yatseniuk Government which came to power initially said, with reference to the country’s non-aligned status, that it had no plans to join NATO. However, following the Russian military invasion in Ukraine and parliamentary elections in October 2014, the new government made joining NATO a priority. On 21 February 2019, the Constitution of Ukraine was amended, the norms on the strategic course of Ukraine for membership in the European Union and NATO were enshrined in the preamble of the Basic Law, three articles and transitional provisions.

At the June 2021 Brussels Summit, NATO leaders reiterated the decision taken at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that Ukraine would become a member of the Alliance with the Membership Action Plan (MAP) as an integral part of the process and Ukraine’s right to determine its future and foreign policy, of course without outside interference. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at that time stressed that Russia will not be able to veto Ukraine’s accession to NATO “as we will not return to the era of spheres of interest, when large countries decide what smaller ones should do.”

According to polls conducted between 2005 and 2013, Ukrainian public support of NATO membership remained low. However, since the Russo-Ukrainian War and Annexation of Crimea, public support for Ukrainian membership in NATO rose greatly. Since June 2014, polls showed that about 50% of those asked supported Ukrainian NATO membership. Some 69% of Ukrainians want to join NATO, according to a June 2017 poll by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, compared to 28% support in 2012 when Yanukovych was in power.

In November 2013 thousands of people in Ukraine staged protests in capital, Kyiv at President Victor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign an Association Agreement between Ukraine and European Union (EU). Some 10,000 demonstrators carried Ukrainian and EU flags chanting “Ukraine is Europe” were protesting as Mr Yanukovych who was attending an EU Summit in Lithuania cited pressure from Russia for his decision. A smaller rally in Kyiv voiced support for President Yanukovych’s decision. EU leaders meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania warned they would not tolerate Russian interference in the bloc’s relations with former Soviet republics. Victor Yanukovych said then he still intended to sign agreement but there were “several crucial” steps left to be made.

Mr Yanukovych’s decision to walk away from the EU deal brought thousands of protesters onto streets of Kyiv and western city of Lyiv. Opposition leaders called for large-scale protests. EU leaders said in the statement that they “strongly” disapproved of Moscow’s pressure on Ukraine not to sign – while Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the EU for the problem. EU Council President then, Herman van Rompuy said the parties had been “really close” to signing the Association Agreement but added; they needed to overcome pressure from abroad. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel said the door would always remain open for Ukraine.

In February 2014, protests in Ukraine resulted in “The Revolution of Dignity” also known as the Maidan Revolution that took place in Ukraine at the end of the Euromaidan protests, when a series of violent events involving protesters, riot police, and unknown shooters in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv culminated in the ousting of elected President Viktor Yanukovych and the overthrow of the Ukrainian government.

In the same February and in March 2014, Russia invaded and subsequently annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine. This event took place in the aftermath of the Revolution of Dignity and is part of the wider Russo-Ukrainian War.

During 22–23 February 2014, Russian president Vladimir Putin convened an all-night meeting with security service chiefs to discuss the extrication of the deposed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. At the end of the meeting, Putin remarked that “we must start working on returning Crimea to Russia”. On 23 February, pro-Russian demonstrations were held in the Crimean city of Sevastopol. On 27 February, masked Russian troops without insignia took over the Supreme Council (parliament) of Crimea and captured strategic sites across Crimea, which led to the installation of the pro-Russian Sergey Aksyonov government in Crimea, the conducting of the Crimean status referendum and eventual declaration of Crimea’s independence on 16 March 2014. Russia formally incorporated Crimea as two Russian federal subjects— the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol on 18 March 2014. Following the annexation, Russia escalated military presence on the peninsula and leveraged nuclear threats to solidify the new status quo on the ground.

Ukraine and many other countries condemned the annexation and consider it to be a violation of international law and further brought complexity in Russian-signed agreements safeguarding the territorial integrity of Ukraine, including the 1991 Belavezha Accords that established the Commonwealth of Independent States, the 1975 Helsinki Accords, the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances and the 1997 Treaty on friendship, cooperation and partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. It led to the other members of the then G8 suspending Russia from the group and then introducing a first round of sanctions against the country. The United Nations General Assembly also rejected the referendum and annexation, adopting a resolution affirming the “territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders”. The UN resolution also “underscored that the referendum had no validity, cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of Crimea” and called upon all states and international organizations not to recognize or to imply the recognition of Russia’s annexation. In 2016, the UN General Assembly reaffirmed non-recognition of the annexation and condemned “the temporary occupation of part of the territory of Ukraine—the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol”.

The Russian government opposes the “annexation” label, with Putin defending the referendum as complying with the principle of self-determination of peoples.

Thinking through the Ukraine crisis

As Ted G. Carpenter put it in his article of The Guardian of 28 February 2022, “It would be extraordinarily difficult to expand Nato eastward without that action’s being viewed by Russia as unfriendly. Even the most modest schemes would bring the alliance to the borders of the old Soviet Union. Some of the more ambitious versions would have the alliance virtually surround the Russian Federation itself.” Mr Carpenter as he said wrote those words in 1994, in his book, Beyond Nato: Staying Out of Europe’s Wars, at a time when expansion proposals merely constituted occasional speculation in foreign policy seminars in New York and Washington. As Mr Carpenter stressed, that expansion “would constitute a needless provocation of Russia”.

Why Vladimir Putin has already lost this war

What was not publicly known during Balkans conflict was that, Bill Clinton’s administration had already made fateful NATO’s advance during 1990s that included some former Warsaw Pact countries. The administration would soon propose inviting Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary to become members, and the US Senate approved adding those countries to the North Atlantic Treaty in 1998. It would be the first of several waves of membership expansion.

Even that, first stage of these advances provoked Russian opposition and anger. In her memoir, Madeleine Albright, Clinton’s Secretary of State, concedes that “Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his countrymen were strongly opposed to enlargement, seeing it as a strategy for exploiting their vulnerability and moving Europe’s dividing line to the East, leaving them isolated.”

Strobe Talbott, then US Deputy Secretary of State, similarly described the Russian attitude. “Many Russians see NATO as a vestige of the cold war, inherently directed against their country. They point out that they have disbanded the Warsaw Pact, their military alliance, and ask why the West should not do the same.” It was an excellent question, and neither the Clinton administration nor its successors provided even a remotely convincing answer.

George Kennan, the intellectual father of America’s containment policy during the cold war, perceptively warned in a May 1998 in his New York Times interview about what the Senate’s ratification of NATO’s first round of expansion would set in motion. “I think it is the beginning of a new Cold War,” Kennan stated. ”I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else.”

He was right, but US and NATO leaders proceeded with new rounds of expansion, including the provocative step of adding the three Baltic republics. Those countries not only had been part of the Soviet Union, but they had also been part of Russia’s empire during the Czarist era. That wave of expansion now had NATO perched on the border of the Russian Federation.

Moscow’s patience with NATO’s ever more intrusive behavior was wearing thin. The last reasonably friendly warning from Russia that the alliance needed to back off came in March 2007, when Putin addressed the annual Munich security conference. “NATO has put its frontline forces on our borders,” Putin complained. NATO expansion “represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. And we have the right to ask: against whom is this expansion intended? And what happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact?”

In his memoir, Duty, Robert M Gates, who served as Secretary of Defense in the administrations of both George W Bush and Barack Obama, stated his belief that “the relationship with Russia had been badly mismanaged after [George HW] Bush left office in 1993”. Among other missteps, “US agreements with the Romanian and Bulgarian governments to rotate troops through bases in those countries was a needless provocation.” In an implicit rebuke to the younger Bush, Gates asserted that “trying to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO was truly overreaching”. That move, he contended, was a case of “recklessly ignoring what the Russians considered their own vital national interests”.

The following year, the Kremlin demonstrated that its discontent with NATO’s continuing incursions into Russia’s security zone had moved beyond verbal objections. Moscow exploited a foolish provocation by Georgia’s pro-Western government to launch a military offensive that brought Russian troops to the outskirts of the capital. Thereafter, Russia permanently detached two secessionist-minded Georgian regions and put them under effective Russian control.

Western (especially US) leaders continued to ignore Russia’s concerns, however. The Obama administration’s seemed to weigh in Ukraine’s internal political affairs in 2013 and 2014 to see demonstrators overthrow Ukraine’s elected pro-Russia President, was the single most brazen provocation, and it caused tensions to spike. Moscow immediately responded by seizing and annexing Crimea, and a new Cold War was underway with a vengeance.

Could the Ukraine crisis have been avoided?

Events during the past few months constituted the last chance to avoid a hot war in Eastern Europe. Putin demanded that NATO provide guarantees on several security issues. Specifically, the Kremlin wanted binding assurances that the alliance would reduce the scope of its growing military presence in eastern Europe and would never offer membership to Ukraine. He backed up those demands with a massive military buildup on Ukraine’s borders.

What is to be done for lasting Peace in Ukraine and in Europe?

Emmanuel Macron whom his country, France is heading the European Union (EU) Presidency, phoned Mr Putin early March 2022 to demand Putin ends the offensive. He urged the Russian leader to stop all strikes against civilians, preserve civilian infrastructure and provide safe access to key roads, especially south of Kyiv. As was reported by the Financial Times (FT) of 2nd March 2022, The Elysee said Putin “confirmed his willingness to pursue these three points.”

As was reported by the FT, according to Kremlin, Putin told Macron that settlement was possible “only if Russia’s legitimate security interests are unconditionally taken into account”. That included recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea, the peninsular it annexed from Ukraine in 2014, and “demilitarising” and “de-Nazifying” the Ukrainian state. Dominic Raab, the UK’s Deputy Prime Minister, said the war in Ukraine “could be a long haul and will do everything we can to achieve our goals of making Putin fail”.

Sanctions and bringing Russia to the Negotiations

As reported in the ABCNews recently, in near-unison, the United States, the 27-nation European Union and other Western allies on 25th February 2022 announced a round of punitive measures against Russian banks and leading companies and imposed export controls aimed at starving the country’s industries and military of semiconductors and other high-tech products.

From the U.S. to Western Europe and Japan, South Korea and Australia, nations lined up to denounce the Kremlin as the outbreak of fighting raised fears about the shape of Europe to come. The invasion initially sent stocks slumping and oil prices surging on fears of higher costs for food and fuel.

The West and allies showed no inclination to send troops into Ukraine — a non-member of NATO — and risk a wider war on the continent. But NATO reinforced its member states in Eastern Europe as a precaution against an attack on them, too. “Make no mistake: We will defend every ally against any attack on every inch of NATO territory,” said NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

In the meantime, countries began taking steps to isolate Moscow in hopes of forcing it to pay so high a price that it changes course. President Biden, for now, held off imposing some of the most severe sanctions, including cutting Russia out of the SWIFT payment system, which allows for the transfers of money from bank to bank around the globe. Ukraine’s President called for Russia to be cast out of SWIFT, but the U.S. has expressed concern about the potential damage to European economies.

Top Biden administration officials including the Secretaries of State, Defense and Treasury briefed members of the U.S. Congress in unclassified calls on 24th February 2022. “This is going to be a long battle that requires a sustained action and unity,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, after the session with Senators. The Senator said there was agreement that Congress “stands ready to provide whatever additional resources are needed” as the U.S. supports the Ukraine military and backs the Ukrainian resistance. More funding may be needed from Congress.

Many lawmakers have pushed for the toughest sanctions possible on Russia to stop the invasion. The Senator said there’s a recognition “we can continue to build” on those President Biden has already announced. EU leaders held an emergency summit and agreed on sanctions that cover, among other things, the financial, energy and transport sectors and various Russian individuals. In a statement, the leaders said the measures will have “massive and severe consequences” for Russia.

In a clear defense of Moscow, China “called on parties to respect others’ legitimate security concerns.”

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that “all parties should work for peace instead of escalating the tension or hyping up the possibility of war” – language China has consistently used to criticize the West in the crisis. China went further and approved imports of wheat from Russia, a move that could reduce the impact of Western sanctions. Russia, one of the biggest wheat producers, would be vulnerable if foreign markets were closed off.

The possible repercussions extended well beyond economics and geopolitics. The Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention worried that the crisis will further distract global attention from helping the world’s least vaccinated continent fight COVID-19.

In New York City, a projection artist is projecting “Stand With Ukraine” and the country’s flag on a wall of the United Nations headquarters. The artist, David Forsee, says he decided to do this because he’s “a concerned person who doesn’t want to be surrounded by nukes.”

On China’s Daily, Xinhua-News of 2nd March 2022, reported that, as the first round of negotiations produced no tangible results, delegations from Russia and Ukraine are expecting the second round of peace talks.

As Xinhua reports, while the two sides agreed to continue their negotiation process, the world is overwhelmed with handling the spillover from the military conflict, amid the sharp rising prices of gold, oil and agricultural futures, among others.

In the face of the heightened geopolitical tensions, China, together with many other countries and international organizations, has been calling on Ukraine and Russia to broker a solution through negotiations while preventing the conflict from further escalating or even getting out of control.

Though the first round of negotiations ended without clear breakthrough, Vladimir Medinsky, head of the Russian delegation, said “Most importantly, we agreed to continue the negotiation process.”

Commenting on the negotiations, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that China has always supported and encouraged all diplomatic efforts that are conducive to the peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis and welcomes the launch of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

China hopes that the two sides will continue the process of dialogue and negotiation and seek a political solution that accommodates reasonable security concerns of both sides, serves common security of Europe and is conducive to lasting peace and stability in Europe, the spokesperson added.

Also Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in early March held a phone conversation at request with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

Wang said that the situation in Ukraine has changed rapidly, and that China laments the outbreak of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia and is extremely concerned with the harm to civilians.

Regarding the current crisis, China calls on Ukraine and Russia to find a solution to the issue through negotiations and supports all constructive international efforts conducive to a political settlement, said Wang.

As the fighting continues to expand, the top priority is to ease the situation as much as possible to prevent the conflict from escalating or even getting out of control, especially to prevent the harm to civilians as well as a humanitarian crisis, and to ensure the safe and timely access of humanitarian aid, he said.

NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg stressed recently on continued diplomatic efforts to solve the ongoing Ukraine crisis.

He called for an immediate stop of the conflict in Ukraine and insisted the engaging of diplomatic efforts, among others.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday, March 1st 2022, also called for efforts to end the conflict.

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Gerald J. Nyerere
Founder and CEO
Muhunda Resources Limited
MCC Grounds, The Open University of Tanzania (OUT) Mara region campus,
P.O. Box 557, Musoma, Tanzania. 31105
Tel. +255 28 2620440
Mob. +255 717 989275 / +255 767 989275

https://www.muhunda.co.tz

COP26 closes with ‘compromise’ deal on climate, but it’s not enough, says UN chief

After extending the COP26 climate negotiations an extra day, nearly 200 countries meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, adopted on Saturday 13th November 2021 an outcome document that, according to the UN Secretary-General, “reflects the interests, the contradictions, and the state of political will in the world today”.

“It is an important step but is not enough. We must accelerate climate action to keep alive the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees”, said António Guterres in a video statement released at the close of the two-week meeting.

The UN chief added that it is time to go “into emergency mode”, ending fossil fuel subsidies, phasing out coal, putting a price on carbon, protecting vulnerable communities, and delivering the $100 billion climate finance commitment.

“We did not achieve these goals at this conference. But we have some building blocks for progress,” he said.

Mr. Guterres also had a message to young people, indigenous communities, women leaders, and all those leading the charge on climate action.

“I know you are disappointed. But the path of progress is not always a straight line. Sometimes there are detours. Sometimes there are ditches. But I know we can get there. We are in the fight of our lives, and this fight must be won. Never give up. Never retreat. Keep pushing forward”.

A snapshot of the agreement

The outcome document, known as the Glasgow Climate Pact, calls on 197 countries to report their progress towards more climate ambition next year, at COP27, set to take place in Egypt.

The outcome also firms up the global agreement to accelerate action on climate this decade.

However, COP26 President Alok Sharma struggled to hold back tears following the announcement of a last-minute change to the pact, by China and India, softening language circulated in an earlier draft about “the phase-out of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels”. As adopted on Saturday, that language was revised to “phase down” coal use.

Mr. Sharma apologized for “the way the process has unfolded” and added that he understood some delegations would be “deeply disappointed” that the stronger language had not made it into the final agreement.

By other terms of the wide-ranging set of decisions, resolutions and statements that make up the outcome of COP26, governments were,among other things, asked to provide tighter deadlines for updating their plans to reduce emissions.

On the thorny question of financing from developed countries in support of climate action in developing countries, the text emphasizes the need to mobilize climate finance “from all sources to reach the level needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, including significantly increasing support for developing country Parties, beyond $100 billion per year”.


Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (standing near left), and Alok Sharma President for COP26 (seated centre), at the closing of the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. UNFCCC/Kiara Worth

1.5 degrees, but with ‘a weak pulse’

“Negotiations are never easy…this is the nature of consensus and multilateralism”, said Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

She stressed that for every announcement made during the past two weeks, the expectation is that the implementation “plans and the fine print” will follow.

“Let us enjoy what we accomplished but also prepare for what is coming,” Ms. Espinosa said, after recognizing the advancements on adaptation, among others.

Meanwhile, COP26 President Alok Sharma stated that delegations could say “with credibility” that they have kept 1.5 degrees within reach.

“But its pulse is weak. And it will only survive if we keep our promises. If we translate commitments into rapid action. If we deliver on the expectations set out in this Glasgow Climate Pact to increase ambition to 2030 and beyond. And if we close the vast gap that remains, as we must,” he told delegates.

He then quoted Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who earlier in the conference had said that for Barbados and other small island states, ‘two degrees is a death sentence.’ With that in mind, Mr. Sharma asked delegates to continue their efforts to get finance flowing and boost adaptation.

He concluded by saying that history has been made in Glasgow.

“We must now ensure that the next chapter charts the success of the commitments we have solemnly made together in the Glasgow Climate Pact, he declared.

The ‘least worst’ outcome

Earlier during the conference’s final stocktaking plenary, many countries lamented that the package of agreed decisions was not enough. Some called it “disappointing”, but overall, said they recognized it was balanced for what could be agreed at this moment in time and given their differences.

Countries like Nigeria, Palau, the Philippines, Chile and Turkey all said that although there were imperfections, they broadly supported the text.

“It is (an) incremental step forward but not in line with the progress needed. It will be too late for the Maldives. This deal does not bring hope to our hearts,” said the Maldives’ top negotiator in a bittersweet speech.

US climate envoy John Kerry said the text “is a powerful statement” and assured delegates that his country will engage constructively in a dialogue on “loss and damage” and adaptation, two of issues that proved most difficult for the negotiators to agree upon.

“The text represents the ‘least worst’ outcome,” concluded the top negotiator from New Zealand.

Other key COP26 achievements

Beyond the political negotiations and the Leaders’ Summit, COP26 brought together about 50,000 participants online and in-person to share innovative ideas, solutions, attend cultural events and build partnerships and coalitions.

The conference heard many encouraging announcements. One of the biggest was that leaders from over 120 countries, representing about 90 per cent of the world’s forests, pledged to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030, the date by which the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to curb poverty and secure the planet’s future are supposed to have been achieved.

There was also a methane pledge, led by the United States and the European Union, by which more than 100 countries agreed to cut emissions of this greenhouse gas by 2030.

Meanwhile, more than 40 countries – including major coal-users such as Poland, Vietnam and Chile – agreed to shift away from coal, one of the biggest generators CO2 emissions.

The private sector also showed strong engagement with nearly 500 global financial services firms agreeing to align $130 trillion – some 40 per cent of the world’s financial assets – with the goals set out in the Paris Agreement, including limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Also, in a surprise for many, the United States and China pledged to boost climate cooperation over the next decade. In a joint declaration they said they had agreed to take steps on a range of issues, including methane emissions, transition to clean energy and decarbonization. They also reiterated their commitment to keep the 1.5C goal alive.

Regarding green transport, more than 100 national governments, cities, states and major car companies signed the Glasgow Declaration on Zero-Emission Cars and Vans to end the sale of internal combustion engines by 2035 in leading markets, and by 2040 worldwide.  At least 13 nations also committed to end the sale of fossil fuel powered heavy duty vehicles by 2040.

Many ‘smaller’ but equally inspiring commitments were made over the past two weeks, including one by 11 countries which created the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA). Ireland, France, Denmark, and Costa Rica among others, as well as some subnational governments, launched this first-of-its kind alliance to set an end date for national oil and gas exploration and extraction.

A quick refresher on how we got here

To keep it simple, COP26 was the latest and one of the most important steps in the decades long, UN-facilitated effort to help stave off what has been called a looming climate emergency.

In 1992, the UN organized a major event in Rio de Janeiro called the Earth Summit, in which the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted.

In this treaty, nations agreed to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere” to prevent dangerous interference from human activity on the climate system. Today, the treaty has 197 signatories.

Since 1994, when the treaty entered into force, every year the UN has been bringing together almost every country on earth for global climate summits or “COPs”, which stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’.

This year should have been the 27th annual summit, but thanks to COVID-19, we’ve fallen a year behind due to last year’s postponement – hence, COP26.

More Info COP26 closes with ‘compromise’ deal on climate, but it’s not enough, says UN chief

‘Adapt or die:’ Africa presses for more climate support

By RODNEY MUHUMUZA

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) – African leaders and campaigners are pressing the international community to do more to help poorer and vulnerable nations adapt to climate change, seizing on evidence showing the continent to be the most endangered by the effects of global warming.

The head of the African Union, Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi, said other parts of the world must contribute half of the $25 billion the continent needs to run an adaptation program over the next five years. The balance will come from the African Development Bank.

Tshisekedi spoke Tuesday before an Africa-focused summit at the U.N. climate conference in the Scottish city of Glasgow. He was one of several leaders who highlighted Africa’s plight in the face of climate change despite being the populated continent least responsible for global emissions.

Tshisekedi noted that the global effort on climate change “can’t be won unless it is won in Africa,” which is home to 1.3 billion people. Africa’s 54 nations contribute only about 3% of global emissions, a fact that surprises some ordinary Africans when they find out.


Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi delivers his message during a session on Action on Forests and Land Use, during the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (Paul Ellis/Pool Photo via AP)

“It is a starting point rather than a ceiling, and it will contribute to building trust and confidence,” Tshisekedi said of the $12.5 billion Africa needs to raise for climate-adaptation projects.

He said he hoped the money would be raised before the next annual climate conference, to be held in Africa.

World leaders are already pledging toward adaptation efforts, and it remains to be seen how much will be raised for Africa when the two-week Glasgow conference ends.

In the meantime, some African leaders and campaigners are applying pressure, noting that a previous pledge to raise $100 billion for Africa was never honored.

“We don’t need more facts. We need more finance,” African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said.

Patrick Verkooijen, chief executive of the Netherlands-based Global Center on Adaptation, said the situation for Africa is “adapt or die,” noting that the effects of climate change “are at Africa’s doorsteps today.”

Alok Sharma, a British official who is leading the climate conference known as COP26, spoke of Malagasy women in Madagascar facing “a bleak future” of being unable to farm because of challenges stemming from climate change.

“The need is great, and the injustice is stark,” he said.

Others who spoke Tuesday included U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said adaptation efforts were “a priority” for Washington. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva called for the removal of obstacles to the empowerment of women as part of broader efforts to strengthen Africa’s resilience amid climate change.

Eze Christiana, a Nigerian living in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, said she doesn’t think it is important to gather and talk about climate change.

“We just need to adapt to it and take it the way we see it,” she said of global warming.

According to a report last month from the World Meteorological Organization and other U.N. agencies, Africa’s people remain “extremely vulnerable” as the continent warms more and at a faster rate than the global average.

The International Rescue Committee said Tuesday that in Somalia and some other African countries where it operates, people face “the sharp end of the climate crisis,” including emergency conditions from the current levels of global warming.

The international community must invest in climate resilience and famine prevention, the humanitarian group said in a statement.

“We’re extremely worried about the impact of continuing drought and conflict on vulnerable populations throughout the horn of Africa, where a large proportion of the population relies heavily on crops to eat and sell for their livelihoods, Kurt Tjossem, the group’s vice president for East Africa, said in that statement.

In Somalia, for example, 3.5 million people face hunger after a failed harvest, with farmers who depend on livestock seeing their animals die from thirst daily, he said.
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Associated Press journalist Josphat Kasire in Nairobi, Kenya, contributed to this report.

More Info ‘Adapt or die:’ Africa presses for more climate support

New agreements between Rwanda and Tanzania to give impetus to joint projects like railway

KIGALI

(Xinhua/Cyril Ndegeya)

Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Monday said cooperation agreements signed between his country and Tanzania earlier in the day will give new impetus to the implementation of joint projects like standard gauge railway.

“Rwanda and Tanzania share more than just a border. Our strong historical ties and common aspiration to deliver prosperity to our people have always been central to our cooperation,” Kagame told a joint press briefing with his visiting Tanzanian counterpart Samia Suluhu Hassan in the capital city Kigali, shortly after they witnessed the signing of four cooperation agreements in the areas of information and communication technology, immigration, education and regulation of medical products.

The signing of the agreements gives new impetus to key infrastructure and investment projects of mutual benefit, particularly the standard gauge railway line, milk production and improved port logistics, said Kagame.

There is a lot more the two countries can learn from each other in the spirit of strengthening trade ties, ensuring prosperity and development of the economies and peoples, said Hassan, adding that the signing of the agreements would pave the way for this.

She also highlighted the need for cooperation in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and in full operation of the one-stop border post at Rusumo, a town on Rwanda-Tanzania border.

Rwanda and Tanzania in 2018 agreed on joint construction of a standard gauge railway from Isaka in northwestern Tanzania to Kigali to facilitate logistics movement between the two countries.

Rwandan Minister of Infrastructure Claver Gatete in July presented a bill to the parliament that provides a framework for the country’s implementation, management and maintenance of the standard gauge railway project, saying the country plans to commence the construction as soon as the railway line reaches Isaka.

The government has resumed discussions with partners on the funding of the projected railway, which is expected to cost the central African nation about 1.3 billion U.S. dollars.

More Info New agreements between Rwanda and Tanzania to give impetus to joint projects like railway

Samia’s State Visit to Burundi: Smooth Trade Beckons

DEOGRATIUS KAMAGI

File

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has instructed the Minister for Industry and Trade Prof Kitila Mkumbo to work on all barriers facing the Tanzanian and Burundian business community.

Equally, she instructed the Minister for Works and Transport Dr Leonard Chamuriho and the Managing Director for Tanzania Railway Corporation TRC Masanja Kadogosa to improve railway transportation linking the two countries in a bid to smoothen movement of people, goods and services.

She was of the view that the improved railway line connecting the two countries would play a crucial role in increasing the volume of cargo being transported to Burundi from Tanzania, and vice versa.

The Head of State made the directives yesterday when addressing a Business forum between Tanzania and Burundian traders, in Bujumbura, as she was completing her two -day state visit in Burundi.

According to her, the Burundi- Tanzania business forum was a clear indication that the two countries are enjoying cordial business relations, saying maintaining and taking further the existing ties was vital.

Going by statistics, she said so far, a total of 17 companies from Tanzania have invested in Burundi in the construction, finance, health, transport and mineral sectors.

There are 18 companies from Burundi that have invested in Tanzania in various sectors, these statistics show the equal shares of balance of trade between our two countries, but we have to increase the volume, especially in sectors that are yet to be utilized, she expounded.

She also explained the need for traders form the two countries to make better use of the East African market by adding value to their products and services.

President Samia also encouraged members of the business community to utilize the available opportunities in the agriculture sector in both countries, since the sector plays vital roles in creation of employment especially for the youth.

Tanzania has a total of 44 million hectares of fertile soil, out of it 10 million hectares are yet to be utilized, therefore we have a great potential and promising future in the agriculture sector in Tanzania, she noted.

In another development she informed members of the forum that the government of Tanzania has continued to upgrade the ports of Dar es Salaam, Kigoma, Kalema, Kasanga and Kabwe in its move to ease movement of people and their goods, asking Burundian traders to continue using the Tanzanians ports in their business.

She also said that Tanzania has invested heavily in the health sector, especially in specialised healthcare by training medical specialists and purchase of modern equipment.

President Samia said Burundians can access cardiovascular services from the neighbouring Dar es Salaam based Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) instead of seeking the services overseas.

Meanwhile, President Samia met and held talks with Tanzanians living in Burundi, where she expressed her gratitude for the warm reception since she arrived in the country on Friday.

She commended the Tanzanian community for participating in various social activities in Burundi and their home country, where they donated desks to Kagera earthquake victims in 2016 and MV Nyerere accident in 2018.

President Samia said that citizens living outside their country are an important group due to their contribution in their home countries.

According to her, it is estimated that 1 million Tanzanians are living in various countries in the world. The President said according to the Bank of Tanzania, Tanzanian Diaspora sent home an estimated 475.65 million US dollars in 2018.

Following your contributions, the government has been taking various measures to safeguard your welfare, including establishment of a Diaspora department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she said.

The Head of State, however, called on all Tanzanians living outside the country to register to the embassies in the countries they reside in so that it can be easier for the government to serve them and benefit from various opportunities arising in their home country.

More info SAMIA’ S STATE VISIT TO BURUNDI: SMOOTH TRADE BECKONS

Tanzania May Start Building $30 Billion LNG Project in 2023

Dar es Salaam

File

President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s administration wants construction completed in 2028. Government negotiating terms with companies including Equinor.

Tanzania plans to begin the construction of a delayed $30 billion liquefied natural gas project in 2023, following the resumption of talks with companies including Equinor ASA.

Construction is expected to take about five years, Energy Minister Medard Kalemani told lawmakers on Thursday.

The project gained momentum after President Samia Suluhu Hassan took office in March, and directed her administration to fast-track delayed investments. Plans for an LNG plant on Tanzania’s southern coast and a pipeline connecting offshore fields have been under consideration since 2014. Talks, however, stalled for more than a year under Hassan’s predecessor John Magufuli.

The announcement on construction of the project comes months after Total SE suspended work on a similar plan in neighboring Mozambique following insurgent attacks. Tanzania’s project, which has lagged Mozambique, is set to benefit from Hassan’s push to boost investment and accelerate economic growth in a nation where policy uncertainty had stifled business.

Talks Resume
Hassan ordered the resumption of negotiations with the companies in May, about four months after Equinor’s decision to take a $982 million impairment on the project following failure to settle fiscal and commercial terms with Tanzania.

“We expect to conclude negotiations for a host government agreement and review production sharing agreements” by the end of June 2022, Kalemani said. The government has finalized compensation procedures with more than 600 residents of the southern Tanzanian town of Lindi to pave way for the project, he said.

Tanzania and the companies are discussing a proposed two-train onshore LNG plant to export gas from the East African nation. Other project partners include Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp., Sophi Energy Ltd. and Pavilion Energy Pte Ltd.

Separately, the government is building a pipeline network to connect and distribute gas to more than 10,000 homes and factories, mostly in the commercial hub of Dar es Salaam, Kalemani said.

Tanzania and Mozambique have for more than a decade been sub-Saharan Africa’s foremost gas frontier-investment destinations after explorers found more than 100 trillion cubic feet of the resources in their territories. Mozambique’s projects, with companies including Total, Eni SpA and Exxon Mobil and a projected investment of at least $60 billion, are threatened by an insurgency in the nation’s gas-rich regions.

More Info Tanzania May Start Building $30 Billion LNG Project in 2023

Tanzania signs host agreement for East African oil pipeline project

Kampala.
21st May 2021

File

Tanzania has signed a Host Government Agreement (HGA) with a Total-led joint venture to launch the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project (EACOP).

The EACOP project forms part of the wider $3.5bn Lake Albert resources development project in Uganda and Tanzania.

The signing of the HGA follows the final agreements made in April 2021 by Total and its partners.

These include shareholders agreement of EACOP and the tariff and transportation agreement between EACOP and the Lake Albert oil shippers.
The latest HGA establishes the legal and commercial framework for the project’s financing, construction, and operation.

Commenting on the project, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni said: “The pipeline is a very important regional project, Tanzania and Mozambique you have gas and the corridor can be used to take another pipeline for gas to help countries in the great lakes region with the resource.”

The EACOP project aims to connect the oil fields around Lake Albert in Uganda to supply up to 216,000 barrels of crude oil a day to Tanzania’s export terminal in Tanga.

Total, the government-owned Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC), Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), and China’s CNOOC will be shareholders in the EACOP project.

The first oil export from the project is expected to take place in early 2025.

The oil pipeline will run from the future Kabaale Industrial Park in the Hoima district of Uganda to the Chongoleani peninsula near the Tanga Port in Tanzania.

The Lake Albert project also includes Tilenga and Kingfisher upstream oil projects in Uganda along with the construction of the EACOP in Uganda and Tanzania.

More Info Tanzania signs host agreement for East African oil pipeline project

Kenya and Tanzania ease cross-border business rules as relations thaw

Nairobi

Reuters

Kenya will waive work and business permits for investors from its neighbour Tanzania, President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Wednesday, as his counterpart made similar overtures in a thawing of often frosty relations between the two countries.

Kenya, east Africa’s biggest economy and one of its most liberal, and Tanzania, which still imposes fairly tight capital controls and ranked No. 2, have long tussled for influence.

“We would like to see many investors from Tanzania coming to do business in Kenya. And I want to say this, Tanzanian investors are free to come and do business in Kenya without being required to have business visas or work permits,” Kenyatta said during a Kenya-Tanzania business meeting in Nairobi.

“The only thing you will be required to do is to follow the laid down regulations and the laws,” he told the meeting, attended by Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

Relations between the two neighbours have been at times testy and got worse under Tanzania’s late President John Magufuli, with officials at times trading barbs over trade restrictions, and last year, over COVID-19 compliance.

Hassan, was sworn in in March after Magufuli died, said her government had embarked on tax and other business reforms to make it easier for Kenyan investors to operate in Tanzania.

Hassan’s office said late on Tuesday the two governments had also pledged to speed up completion of electricity transmission and road construction projects Kenya and Tanzania are jointly carrying out.

The two governments also agreed to speed up groundwork for the construction of a natural gas pipeline linking Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam and Kenya’s port city of Mombasa.

Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Alison Williams.

More Info Kenya and Tanzania ease cross-border business rules as relations thaw