At the end of the first Africa climate summit, the continent’s heads of state made clear demands on the world community.
At the end of the first Africa climate summit, African heads of state called for the global financial system to be restructured to make it more fair. Today, the participants at the summit in Kenya’s capital announced the resolution of the so-called Nairobi Declaration, which the African states want to use as a common basis for negotiations at the forthcoming world climate conference in November in Dubai.
“As a continent, we have developed our common stance that encapsulates our ambitions for socio-economic transformation and our climate change agenda,” said Kenya’s President William Ruto in his final statement.
The continent is suffering badly from the climate crisis
The three-day summit was attended by African heads of state and representatives of the United Nations, governments from other regions of the world, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. It was the first climate summit that focused primarily on Africa and its approximately 1.3 billion inhabitants. The continent is suffering greatly from the consequences of the climate crisis, but is making little contribution to climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions.
“At the Summit, we made it clear that we are aware of the unfair configuration of multilateral institutional frameworks that consistently bog African nations down with costly financing… and depriving them of the resources they need to mitigate climate change and to adapt to it,” said Ruto. “We demand fair terms for our countries to access the investments they need to unlock their potential and turn it into opportunity.”
The Nairobi Declaration was adopted unanimously among states at the summit, according to the African Union. It was initially unclear how many heads of state from the 54 African states were present. However, the final wording of the text was not initially published in the afternoon.
The Kenyan President also highlighted other achievements of the summit: “During this action summit, various actors, including governments, the private sector, multilateral banks and philanthropists, made massive pledges totaling a whopping US$23 billion for green growth, climate action and adaptation efforts across the country made Africa.”
The representative for international climate policy at the Federal Foreign Office, Jennifer Morgan, spoke of an important step for the upcoming world climate conference. The African states could have further developed their position in order to speak with one voice as far as possible and also conveyed their positions to the international guests at the summit. Central were the topics of how to create green industrialization with the necessary avoidance of CO2 emissions, as well as financial instruments to support the sometimes highly indebted states with the costs.
“We have succeeded in bringing the states of the continent together and bringing them to a common position,” said Parliamentary State Secretary in the Development Ministry, Bärbel Kofler, who, like Morgan, was also in Nairobi. “The point is that African countries discussed and presented their solutions here and we heard African solutions from the African countries,” said Kofler. “We see this as an outstretched hand from the states of the African continent and would like to take this hand.”
Funds from the industrialized countries needed
These solutions include calls for debt swaps, which would allow heavily indebted countries to cancel part of their debt in favor of financing climate change projects. The reform of the World Bank and a global tax on carbon dioxide are also being called for. “It is something that has also permeated the talks to see that many states are not financially able to take adequate measures that would be necessary to combat climate change due to the consequences of climate change and on the one hand the debt situation and on the other hand to fight,” emphasized Kofler.
According to the organization One, the countries of Africa are more indebted than ever before. Currently, 21 countries on the continent are either bankrupt or in danger of sliding into a debt crisis. For the consequences of climate change, African countries are demanding money from the industrialized countries, which have made a massive contribution to global warming.
Africa, so the argument goes, is statistically responsible for less than four percent of global warming, but pays the highest price. According to estimates by the African Development Bank, climate-related natural disasters cost countries between 7 and 15 billion US dollars a year. By 2030, these losses could increase to $50 billion annually.
According to a report by think tank PowerShift Africa, Africa’s renewable energy production potential is 50 times greater than the world’s expected electricity needs by 2040. Africa has “an abundance of clean, renewable energy,” said director Mohamed Adow. “But to unleash them, Africa needs funds from countries that have become rich from our suffering.”
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.