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Non-state actors in Africa issue demands they want their leaders to uphold and champion at the Africa Climate Summit and COP28

People from arid and semi-arid areas in Kenya are witnessing the devastating effects of climate change that include droughts, floods, cyclones, desertification, food insecurity, displacement, and conflicts. PHOTO/FILE


Africa non-state actors have outlined demands they expect African leaders to uphold and champion at the Africa Climate Summit set to be held in Nairobi, Kenya in next month and at COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Top on their list is respect, protection, and fulfillment of the human rights of all people, especially those left vulnerable and marginalised by the effects of climate change, such as indigenous peoples, women, children, persons with disabilities, and poor communities.

They are also calling for the promotion of fair, just and equitable distribution of the benefits and burdens of climate action, both within and between countries, taking into account historical responsibility, capacity, and different levels of development.

“Empower women and girls as agents of change and leaders in climate action, ensuring their full, equal, and meaningful participation in decision-making processes at all levels and addressing the gender-specific impacts of climate change on their lives and livelihoods,” they said in a statement.

They also called for the securing of the rights and interests of present and future generations, ensuring they have access to a healthy and sustainable environment, adequate resources, and opportunities to thrive in a low-carbon and climate-resilient world.

For those interested in signing the petition of the Africa non-state actors it is found here.

“As Non-State Actors, we are deeply concerned about the impacts of the climate crisis on our continent and its people. We are witnessing the devastating effects of droughts, floods, cyclones, desertification, food insecurity, displacement, and conflicts,” they noted.

They added that they are also aware of the historical and current responsibilities of the developed countries in causing and exacerbating this crisis and their failure to provide adequate support to the most vulnerable countries and communities.

The said Africa Climate Summit, scheduled for September 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya, is a unique opportunity for the continent, through its leaders, to raise the urgency of addressing the climate emergency and protecting the rights and livelihoods of its citizens.

“It is also an opportunity to build momentum and solidarity for the African agenda at COP28 and beyond by highlighting African countries’ common interests and aspirations in achieving a low-carbon, climate-resilient, and inclusive development,” they added.

They said they have been steadfast in advocating a just and equitable transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient future that respects the rights and dignity of all people.

They observed that in the past several weeks, they have held direct and indirect engagements with the Kenyan Government, the African Union Commission, and the larger ClimDev-Africa Initiative under the aegis of an independent Non-State Actors’ Committee, which was established to ensure that the summit reflects the voices and aspirations of African people.

“Despite these engagements and the evidence provided by the latest science, we are worried that the summit may fall short of these aspirations,” they warned.

They asked African leaders to reject false solutions and narratives that undermine African communities’ rights, interests, and sovereignty, such as carbon markets, geo-engineering, nuclear energy, and the principle of share responsibilities.

PACJA officials welcome with President William Ruto. PHOTO/PACJA

They reminded the African leaders that some proposals or actions claim to address the climate crisis while in reality, they either have no significant impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions or, worse, have negative social and environmental consequences.

“These proposals are promoted by powerful interests that benefit from maintaining the status quo of fossil fuel dependence, and they divert attention and resources from the real solutions that are urgently needed,” they said.

They asked African leaders and stakeholders at both Africa Climate Summit and COP28  to critically examine the claims and evidence behind any proposed solution and make it a duty to the African people to ask had questions about such proposals.

They implored the leaders to press for and uphold transparent and participatory decision-making processes involving diverse stakeholders and perspectives; ensuring that the voices of those most affected by climate change and its solutions are heard and respected; and supporting the development and implementation of solutions that are based on sound science, local knowledge, and community empowerment.

“Show courage in confronting the systemic changes needed to address climate change effectively, recognizing that false climate solutions often serve to maintain the status quo and protect the interests of powerful actors who benefit from the current system,” they demanded. 

They asked their leaders to challenge the dominant narratives and paradigms that enable and justify false solutions, such as those denying historical responsibilities for the climate crisis, turning regional and global dialogues into investment forums, claiming equal or shared responsibility for climate action, and dismissing African demands for justice as victim-playing.

They also told them to Commit 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 reiterate that Africa’s Just Energy Transition (JET) must be Africanised. We recognise that different countries and groups of people have different needs, capacities, and aspirations in energy and that these must be considered in the design and implementation of energy policies and projects,” they added.

The African non-state actors demanded that the Africa Climate Summit 2023 upholds the Just Energy Transition( JET) principles that includes; recognizing the diversity and heterogeneity of African countries and regions and respecting their sovereignty and self-determination in defining their energy pathways.

  • Ensuring that the energy transition is aligned with the African Union Agenda 2063, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement and contributes to poverty eradication, social justice, human development and sustainable industrialization.
  • Promoting a participatory and inclusive approach that engages all relevant actors, especially women, youth, indigenous peoples and marginalized groups, in designing, implementing and monitoring the energy transition policies and projects.
  • Supporting the development of local capacities, skills and innovations and fostering regional cooperation and integration to enhance the competitiveness and resilience of African economies in the global energy market.
  • Balancing the trade-offs and synergies between environmental, social and economic objectives and ensuring that the costs and benefits of the energy transition are equitably distributed among and within countries.
  • Indigenous peoples, women, children, persons with disabilities, and poor communities have been heavily affected by climate change impacts. PHOTO/PACJA
  • Addressing the historical injustices and inequalities that have resulted from exploiting fossil fuels in Africa and drumming adequate compensation, rehabilitation and restitution for the affected communities and ecosystems.
  • Enhancing the access, affordability, and reliability of modern energy services for all Africans, especially those living in rural and Peri-urban areas, and prioritizing decentralized, community-owned and managed renewable energy solutions.
  • Strengthening the governance, transparency and accountability mechanisms at all levels and ensuring that evidence-based decision-making, human rights standards and the rule of law guide the energy transition. 

They also demanded that developed countries fulfill 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 demand that the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities must continue to guide global climate action and underpin the common African position,” they said.

They called on the summit to uphold key priorities for Africa in its decisions and engagement with global and regional stakeholders that included securing adequate, flexible, and predictable needs-based finance for adaptation, loss and damage and mitigation actions, especially from developed countries with historical responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions.

They said such finance must be primarily public-sourced, new and additionally to official development assistance and in the form of grants and other non-loan instruments.

“The summit must aim to conclude discussions on the New Collective and Quantified Goal on climate finance,” they added.

They also asked them to work on the completion and adaptation of the framework for the Global Goal on Adaptation at COP 28 and asked the summit press for increasing adaptation finance to Africa by more than double and ensuring it is needs-based and reaches communities at the forefront of the climate crisis.

They also asked for the enhancing access to transferred and homegrown technology and capacity building to enable African countries to implement low-carbon development strategies and cope with climate risks.

They demanded for the promotion of equity and justice in the allocation of emission reduction targets and the distribution of climate benefits, considering the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and supporting regional cooperation and integration to foster collective action and leverage synergies among African countries on climate issues.

For those interested in signing the petition of the Africa non-state actors it is found here.

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