Africa calls for action on climate change

Ellanie Smit
African leaders have called for action in the Nairobi Declaration following the Africa Climate Summit that took place in Kenya.

The declaration expressed concern that many African countries face disproportionate burdens and risks arising from climate change-related, unpredictable weather events and patterns.

This includes prolonged droughts, devastating floods, and wildfires, which have caused massive humanitarian crises with detrimental impacts on economies, health, education, peace and security.

It acknowledged that climate change is the single greatest challenge facing humanity and the biggest threat to all life on Earth.

"It demands urgent and concerted action from all nations to lower emissions and reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere."

Growth focused

The declaration further noted with concern that 600 million people in Africa still lack access to electricity, while 970 million lack access to clean cooking.

"Despite Africa having an estimated 40% of the world’s renewable energy resources, only US$60 billion, or 2% of the US$3 trillion in renewable energy investments in the last decade, have come to Africa."

It called upon the global community to act with urgency in reducing emissions, fulfilling its obligations, keeping past promises, and supporting the continent in addressing climate change.

"We call for climate-positive investments that catalyse a growth trajectory, anchored in the industries poised to transform our planet and enable African countries to achieve stable middle-income status by 2050."

The African leaders further committed to developing and implementing policies, regulations and incentives aimed at attracting local, regional and global investment in green growth and inclusive economies.

They also committed to propelling Africa's economic growth and job creation in a manner that limits their own emissions and also aids global decarbonisation efforts by leapfrogging traditional industrial development and fostering green production and supply chains on a global scale.

Collective action

The declaration called upon world leaders to appreciate that decarbonising the global economy is also an opportunity to contribute to equality and shared prosperity.

It further called on the international community to increase Africa’s renewable generation capacity from 56 GW in 2022 to at least 300 GW by 2030, both to address energy poverty and to bolster the global supply of cost-effective clean energy for industry.

African leaders also called for access to and transfer of environmentally sound technologies, including those that consist of processes and innovation methods, to support Africa’s green industrialisation and transition.

They requested that trade-related environmental tariffs and non-tariff barriers be subject to multilateral discussions and agreements and not be unilateral, arbitrary or discriminatory measures.

"We call for collective global action to mobilise the necessary capital for both development and climate action, echoing the statement of the Paris Summit for a New Global Financing Pact that no country should ever have to choose between development aspirations and climate action."

Finance architecture

The declaration noted that multilateral finance reform is necessary but not sufficient to provide the scale of climate financing the world needs to achieve the 45% emission reduction by 2030 required to meet the Paris Agreement, without which keeping global warming to 1.5% will be in serious jeopardy.

"The scale of financing required to unlock Africa’s climate-positive growth is beyond the borrowing capacity of national balance sheets or at the risk premium that Africa is currently paying for private capital."

It also proposed to establish 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.