President of South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit at the Africa Climate Summit. PHOTO/PRESIDENCY
By BRENDA TATU
The Africa Climate Summit held in Kenya recently missed an opportunity to have a strong African position that established the route to addressing the climate crisis civil societies from the continent have said.
The Non-State Actors Steering Committee (NSA) a platform that strives for the advancement of a pro-African agenda in all key climate spaces expressed disappointment that the Heads of States Nairobi Declaration did not prioritize adaptation as a critical concern for Africa and left it a mere peripheral issue.
“We would like to remind the Heads of States that adaptation is not only crucial for survival but also a matter of justice. Africa is one of the regions that are most affected by climate change, even though it contributes the least to its causes,” they said in a statement.
They urged the authorities to accord equal attention and resources to both adaptation and mitigation in their national and international actions demanded that adaptation strategies be designed based on local knowledge, needs, capacities, and human rights principles.
They said they were also concerned that the Declaration did not adequately address the emotive issue of just transition, which is crucial for ensuring that no one is left behind in the shift to a low-carbon economy.
“We note that the Declaration only mentions just transition once without any details or commitments on how we should define it in our own narratives and perspectives, and how it will be implemented,” they said.
They urged Heads of State in Africa to adopt a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to just transition that is contextual and responsive to African realities, aspirations, and desires, and will discourage experimentation on false solutions that exacerbate the climate crisis.
They said this approach involves the meaningful participation of workers, communities, civil society, and other stakeholders in planning and implementing policies that promote decent work, social protection, human rights, gender equality, and environmental justice.
“Such an approach should also ensure the vast resources driving the transition, including wind, solar and geothermal, as well as critical minerals spread across the continent, restore hope to the people who have known such resources to be the source of pain, conflict and misery,” they added.
Non-State Actors’ Committee said curiously, the Africa Climate Summit did not pronounce itself on how African leaders will collectively work together to exert pressure on developed countries to deliver on the financial commitments previously made by the historical emitters.
They said the failure to advance for framework for pushing for a funding mechanism to fund some of the critical climate-related interventions that protect those most affected by inequality and discrimination who are often children, youth and women, was another waterloo for the Summit’s Declaration.
President William Ruto at the Africa Climate Summit. PHOTO/PRESIDENCY
The added that the propagation and political advancement for implementation of the carbon market with no clear evidence that it works remains one of the bold posters of the Global North attempting to advance approaches that exonerate them and transfer the burden of action to the victims of their actions.
They claimed right at the onset, the Summit exonerated the rich countries from taking full responsibility for their historical and current emissions that have taken us to the current state of global warming.
“We are disappointed the Declaration’s Call to Action does not reflect this recognition of the value of nature and biodiversity. Consequently, the NSAC urges the Heads of State to include more specific actions and targets in their national and regional plans and policies for biodiversity conservation and restoration,” they scoffed.
Additionally, the NSAC called on the Heads of State o ensure that they integrate nature-based solutions into their mitigation and adaptation strategies.
They said as the world heads to Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) for COP28 meeting, they want the developed countries fulfil their historical responsibility and provide adequate and predictable finance, technology transfer, and capacity building to support adaptation, mitigation, and loss and damage in Africa.
“We are much more keen to collaborate in pushing for grant-based funding mechanisms,” they noted.
They reiterated their position on the rejection of the promotion of carbon markets that are not responsive and do not serve the climate justice imperatives for Africa.
“We further urge for continued dialogue in the spirit of closing knowledge gaps on carbon markets that are apparent, at all levels,” they observed.
They asked African leaders to commit themselves to a just and equitable transition to renewable energy, ensuring that energy access is prioritised for the poor and marginalised and that community ownership and participation are guaranteed.
“We urge African leaders to stand by the principles of climate justice, human rights, gender equality, and intergenerational equity in all climate policies and actions,” they called.
The NSAC said it was optimistic that this Nairobi Declaration is a forward step towards accomplishing more ambitious and comprehensive climate action in Africa and globally and it is fully prepared to collaborate with the Heads of State and other stakeholders in the implementation of the Africa Climate Summit’s Declaration and in collectivizing Africa’s position towards COP28.