First joint statement on climate emerges from China-Africa ministerial conference

The much watched 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC8) in Dakar, Senegal, concluded on Nov 30 with a series of outcome documents. One of them is the China-Africa Joint Declaration on Climate Cooperation, the first issue-specific joint statement coming out of FOCAC since its inauguration in 2000. 
The Declaration reaffirms China and African countries’ respective positions under existing multilateral climate regimes, including the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement, and urges developed countries to fulfil their financing pledges under these mechanisms, while “respecting developing countries’ right to sustainable development”.
More concretely, the two sides would establish a “strategic partnership for addressing climate change” that involves jointly defending the interests of developing countries, strengthening climate South-South cooperation, and expanding cooperation areas. China and Africa would accelerate the implementation of existing climate projects including material donation, low-carbon development demonstration zones and collaborations on climate adaptation and preparedness. 
Energy sector cooperation is given a special emphasis in the Declaration, with China committing to increase its support for African countries to better harness solar, wind, hydro and biogas, and “stop building new coal-fired power projects,” a confirmation of President Xi’s pledge at the United Nations General Assembly in September. On the other hand, the two sides agree to make natural gas power projects and green hydrogen projects eligible for green finance support, probably reflecting earlier views expressed by African leaders that natural gas should not be ruled out as a transitional fuel for the continent.
The Joint Declaration also designates a few new and existing fora as vehicles for furthering China-Africa climate cooperation. They include the China-Africa Joint Research Centre (set up in Kenya in 2013),  the China-Africa “Green Ambassador” programme and a new China-Africa High-level Forum on Combating Climate Change. 
In his opening remarks at FOCAC8, President Xi Jinping also indicated China’s support of Africa’s Great Green Wall project, a massive undertaking to green 8000km of land “across the entire width of Africa”.