Within the last three days, African heads of state and government have, for the first time in decades, gathered in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city, to formally take a position on a matter central to all of them – climate change.
Despite contributing just about 4 per cent to global emissions, Africa is said to be the most devastated by the consequences of climate change.
From Kampala in Uganda to Arusha in Tanzania; Ibadan in Nigeria, Harare in Zimbabwe, Mogadishu in Somalia, Cairo in Egypt, and Mombasa in Kenya, among others, the stories of hunger, diseases, and poverty which are traceable to the crisis of climate are too visible to be ignored.
The two extremes of the climate change consequences of drought and flooding have eaten too deep into the continent, leaving the people at the mercy of crumbs thrown at them by the developed economies and private investors.
Over the years, Africa has only been at the table where discussions on climate issues are raised more as an observer than a participant; but this is the home of the challenges, and now where solutions to the global impacts have been traced.
Rewriting the narrative, Kenyan President William Ruto said, is the basis for the convening of the inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS), which is coinciding with the Africa Climate Week.
Mr Ruto, as the Chairman of the African Union’s Committee of Heads of State and Government on Climate Change, said his government decided to partner with the AU and other key stakeholders to host the summit as part of efforts towards forging a common front for the continent in the quest for climate justice.
Mr Ruto said until Africa begins to write its stories by itself, the narratives will continue to be skewed against it, and in favour of those he described as the polluters.
He said: “Until the lion learns the art of writing, all stories will glorify the hunter,” Mr Ruto said in his welcome address at the Presidential Day Programme during the summit.
But ahead of the official endorsement and announcement by the African leaders at the summit, PREMIUM TIMES takes a peep into the draft declaration which aims to guide the continent’s position during the forthcoming COP28 to be hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The African heads of state and government are currently in a closed-door session reviewing the proposal and will soon emerge at the Tsavo Auditorium at the summit to announce the final decisions. But ahead of that, take a peep into the draft declaration.
AU’s likely positions
Stakeholders at the summit including the African leaders of government, development partners, indigenous people of the continent, civil societies, and youth, are strongly of the opinion that a “unified approach and political leadership on an African vision that simultaneously pursues climate change and development agenda,” is urgently required.
To achieve the above, the stakeholders believe “the world is not on track to keeping within reach the 1.5°C limit agreed in Paris and that global emissions must be cut by 45 per cent in this decade; underscores the IPCC confirmation that Africa is warming faster than the rest of the world and, if unabated, climate change will continue to have adverse impacts on African economies and societies, and hamper growth and wellbeing.”
They also express concern that many “African countries face disproportionate burdens and risks arising from climate change-related, unpredictable weather events and patterns, including prolonged droughts, devastating floods, wild/forest fires, which cause massive humanitarian crisis with detrimental impacts on economies, health, education, peace, and security, among other risks.
“Reaffirm the principles set out in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Paris Agreement, namely equity, common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities…”
Africa believes that it is indebted to the developed countries due to the high impact of climate change on the continent and apart from seeking climate justice, adequate adaptation measures, and just energy transitions, the AU may be placing on-the-table debt relief request.
Some of these demands will likely include an urgent implementation of the measures included in the Paris Agenda for People and the Planet, which is said to involve capitalisation and deployment reform of the Multilateral Development Banks (MDB) towards increasing “available concessional capital with MDBs, channel a greater proportion of this concessional capital to emerging and frontier economies, and incentivise investment in climate-aligned opportunities.”
Africa may seek urgent redesigning of the MDB governance, to ensure a “fit for purpose” system with appropriate representation, voice, and agency of all countries, while also seeking measures to improve debt management, including a) the inclusion of ‘debt pause clauses’, and the proposed expert review of the Common Framework and the Debt Sustainability Analysis.
The new debt relief interventions may now include instruments to pre-empt debt default “with the ability to extend sovereign debt tenor, and include a 10-year grace period.”
They may also agree on new universal global instruments to collect additional revenue, and seek a “decisive action on the promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations (Resolution A/C.2/77/L.11/REV.1)– with the aim to reduce Africa’s loss of $27 billion annual corporate tax revenue through profit shifting, by at least 50 per cent by 2030 and 75 per cent by 2050.”
Demands from international community
African leaders may be rising from the summit today placing some of these relevant demands before the international community, including; increasing Africa’s renewable generation capacity from 56 GW in 2022 to at least 300 GW by 2030; shifting the energy-intensive primary processing of Africa’s raw material exports to the continent; calling for access to and transfer of environmentally sound technologies, including technologies that consist of processes and innovation methods to support Africa’s green industrialisation and transition.
READ ALSO: Africa Climate Summit 2023: US pledges $30 million support for climate-resilient food production in Africa
Others may include the demand to design global and regional trade mechanisms “in a manner that enables products from Africa to compete on fair and equitable terms;” accelerating efforts to decarbonise the transport, industrial and electricity sectors through the use of smart, digital and highly efficient technologies and systems, and reducing the cost of capital for investment in Africa, through a mix of availing credit rating data, smart guarantee instruments and additional concessional finance to attract private capital.
Call to action
The African leaders will rise from the summit to call upon world leaders “to appreciate that decarbonising the global economy is also an opportunity to contribute to equality and shared prosperity; invite development partners from both the global south and north to align and coordinate their technical and financial resources directed toward Africa to promote sustainable utilisation of Africa’s natural assets for the continent’s progression toward low carbon development, and contributing to global decarbonisation; call acceleration of the on-going initiatives to reform the multilateral financial system and global financial architecture including the Bridgetown Initiative, the Accra-Marrakech Agenda, the UN Secretary General’s SDG Stimulus Proposal and the Paris Summit for a New Global Financing Pact, among many others.”
The African leaders may from here agree to decide that the declaration serves as a basis for Africa’s common position in the global climate change process to COP28 and beyond, while there could also be a proposal for the establishment of a new financing architecture “that is responsive to Africa’s needs including debt restructuring and relief, including the development of a new Global Climate Finance Charter through UNGA and COP processes by 2025.”
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.Donate
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999