Africa will seek billions in compensation from industrialised nations during key climate change talks in Copenhagen later this year, an official said Monday.
Representatives from eight countries that make up a panel of leaders chosen to represent the continent in Denmark met here to thrash out the details of a common stance for the December meeting.
"The proposition is that it has to be an amount significant enough to lead to rapid, sustainable development and industrialisation of developing countries, in particular Africa," Lumumba Di-Aping, Sudan's deputy UN representative, told AFP after the meeting.
He said the compensation sought would amount to billions of dollars and "could be anything up to five percent of the global GDP," which would be equivalent to around three trillion dollars.
He added that a final decision would be made by African leaders during a "special heads of state summit" in Libya on Saturday.
Rhoda Tumusime, the AU's commissioner for rural economy and agriculture, said Ethiopia, whose Prime Minister Meles Zenawi championed the continent's climate change concerns at the recent G8 Summit, is likely to be chosen as "representative" in the Libya meeting.
"Ethiopia would be ideal to be the spokesperson of the continent. It is being suggested because its leader understands the issue of climate change," she said.
According to statistics from the UN Environment Programme, between 75 million and 250 million people in Africa may face water shortages by 2020.
It also estimates that up to 50 billion dollars would be needed every year to cope with the effects of climate change in Africa.
African environment ministers met in Kenya earlier this year to draft a common position and demand that the continent's interests be taken into account at upcoming summits defining world policy on climate change.
The agreement calls for more finances and clean energy technology transfer as well as significant carbon emission cuts by developed countries.
The ministers want industrialised nations to cut emissions by 25 to 40 percent by 2020.
They also urged the G8 countries to implement a recommendation to establish a regional centre for climate change in Africa.