1. Jamaica announces new plan to combat climate change.
Jamaica is one of a small group of countries that has submitted expanded plans to combat climate change ahead of a virtual "Climate Ambition Summit this Week". Indeed the country has submitted a larger Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Climate Accord than is required by the treaty, pledging to reduce emissions by 25% by 2030, with 80% of the cuts coming from the energy sector. Alongside this Jamaica has stated that it will plant 3 million trees to combat the country's deforestation problem. Jamaica is at increased risk from the consequences of climate change as it lies in the path of many hurricanes and is highly susceptible to drought and flooding. Pearnel Charles Jr., Minister for Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change noted “Jamaica wants to demonstrate to the world that despite the challenges posed by COVID (and) by this historic, active hurricane season, which has produced damaging floods, we are still committed to actionable ambition".
2. Suspected bandits abduct children at school in North West Nigeria.
Around 400 students are missing after bandits with AK-47 assault rifles attacked a school in Katsina State in northwestern Nigeria. The mission to locate the stolen children is being led by military and intelligence chiefs, who are yet to identify a precise motive. The attack is a grim reminder of the callous disregard for all decency from such criminal gangs, with kidnappings, murder, and violence all commonplace in Katsina State, typically for ransom and financial gain. President Buhari, a native of Katsina, has asked security forces to hunt down the bandits, a strongly condemned the attackers while offering his prayers for the children and families affected.
3. Kenya and Ethiopia open new “One-Stop Border Post”.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ethiopian counterpart, Abiy Ahmed, inaugurated the new Moyale One-Stop Border Post on Wednesday the 9th of December. Moyale, which bridges the border between Ethiopia and Kenya is home to a new border post which is intended to remove impediments to the flow of goods and services between the two countries. Not only will this bolster the economies of both nations, it has important security ramifications. The Mombasa-Nairobi-Moyale trade nexus plays a key part in the free flow of strategic commodities, like food and energy, throughout the East African region. As a result the new One-Stop post will not only bring Kenya and Ethiopia closer together, but promote regional stability.
4. The Southern African Development Community has called for a strong regional response to Mozambique’s ongoing insurgency.
The SADC’s Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit, an emergency meeting convened by Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi, has called for stronger regional efforts to tackle Mozambique’s insecurity. It was noted in a communique released after the talks that the summit had “directed the finalization of a comprehensive regional response and support to the Republic of Mozambique”. It is as yet unknown what specific measures the SADC will take. However, this is a positive step towards mounting a robust international response to the tragedy unfolding in Mozambique.
5. Australia to partner with the United States in missile development.
Australia will partner with the United States to develop and test a hypersonic cruise missile under a new program known as the bilateral Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment or “SCIFiRE”. The new weapon will increase Australia’s power projection capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region and many commentators see this move as a response to a recent increase in tensions with China. Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said the new missile program was part of an ongoing effort to invest in defence capabilities in order to “give the Australian Defence Force more options to deter aggression against Australia's interests”.