At the pre-COP27 in Kinshasa, the countries of the South made the industrialized countries face up to their responsibilities

As expected, the countries of the South pleaded their cause and held the industrialized world up to its responsibilities during the two days of the "pre-COP27" organized in Kinshasa, one month before the climate summit scheduled for November in Egypt.

A closing ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday evening, after two days of discussions between ministers and environmental specialists from around 60 countries, who worked on the usual themes of climate negotiations: adaptation, mitigation, finance, "losses and harm".

"From the point of view of climate diplomacy, it is a success," said a senior Congolese official.

A common front of the major forest countries
The Minister of the Environment of the DRC, Eve Bazaïba, maneuvering for weeks to pilot this "pre-COP" co-organized with Egypt, also seemed satisfied by announcing on the 2nd day of the meeting the forthcoming formation of a common front of the major forest countries of DR Congo, Brazil and Indonesia.

It will be for them to present themselves in force at the negotiations on climate and biodiversity, to talk about the preservation of forest cover but also about "access to climate finance" and the "price per ton of carbon".

In the heart of the Congo Basin, the DRC had set the tone from the opening of the pre-COP, with very firm speeches by Ms. Bazaïba and Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde.

Like many other developing countries, the DRC will find it increasingly difficult to "make a choice" between the fight against "extreme poverty" and "the heavy bill to pay for adaptation to climate change", if the industrialized countries do not offer it "substantial technological and financial alternatives".

"We need oxygen, we also need bread," Ms. Bazaïba had launched.

While European countries are reconnecting with polluting energies...
The head of government was angry with those who would like to prevent the DRC from exploiting its oil, while European countries have just reconnected with polluting energies to compensate for the energy deficit caused by the war between Russia and Ukraine.

The Congolese government launched calls for tenders for 30 oil and gas blocks at the end of July, drawing criticism from environmental organizations. They argue that oil exploitation in the forests and peatlands of the Congo Basin risks releasing large amounts of carbon.

In front of the press, the American special envoy for the climate John Kerry did not oppose the exploitation of Congolese oil, but declared that Washington had asked Kinshasa to give up the blocks located in sensitive areas, forests or peat bogs .

Already the day before, John Kerry had judged it possible to "find a balance between the need to protect the Congo Basin and the requirements of development and job creation". He said on Tuesday that he intended to raise the subject with DRC President Felix Tshisekedi.

The Congolese opening speeches were described as "virulent", even "going to war" by some participants in the pre-COP.

"The Urgency of Action"
But this meeting was "very useful", estimated, among others, the French Minister for Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, interviewed by AFP.

"I came here a little worried, given the geopolitical tensions" or the "expectations and disappointments" since COP26 in Glasgow, she said. "I leave with the feeling that this event has made it possible to tighten positions, to reiterate the urgency of action, to clearly define the areas on which we can move forward," she added.

The subject of "loss and damage" (or "damage") caused by climate change will be discussed in Sharm-el-Sheikh, continued the minister, "because it is an essential question (...) which concerns all countries" facing "irreversible damage from climate change".

But you have to be "pragmatic", "have results" and "simplify access to funding", according to her rather than "creating yet another fund that will arouse the same reservations...".