The inaugural Africa Climate Summit ("ACS") held in Nairobi earlier this month culminated with the adoption of the "African Leaders Nairobi Declaration on Climate Change and Call to Action" ("TheNairobi Declaration"). The Nairobi Declaration will serve as Africa's common position on climate change leading up to COP28 and beyond.
The Nairobi Declaration recognises that the world is off-track in meeting the 1.5°C limit agreed upon in the Paris Agreement and that global emissions must be cut by 45% in this decade. It also notes that Africa is warming up faster than the rest of the world, and if this is not addressed, it will continue to have unfavourable effects on African economies and hamper Africa's growth and well-being.
The Nairobi Declaration highlights Africa's unique position in the war against climate change:
- Africa disproportionately bears the brunt of climate-related adversities despite historically not being responsible for global warming;
- The rapid urbanisation of African cities, coupled with severe poverty and inequality, limits planning capacities and increases people's exposure and vulnerability to climate hazards, ultimately turning African cities into natural. disaster hotspots; and
- Africa possesses the potential to play a pivotal role in the global efforts to combat climate change by forging a climate-positive trajectory. This can be achieved by harnessing its vast, untapped renewable energy resources, leveraging its youthful and rapidly expanding workforce, capitalising on its abundant natural assets, and embracing the entrepreneurial spirit of its people to establish a thriving and cost-competitive industrial hub.
African States' commitments
The African Heads of State and Government committed inter alia to:
- Develop and implement policies, regulations, and incentives to attract local, regional, and international investment in green growth and inclusive economies;
- Propel Africa's economic growth and job creation in a manner that limits emissions from Africa to aid global decarbonization efforts and foster green production and supply chains;
- Strengthen collaboration and further accelerate the operationalization of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA);
- Lead the development of global standards and metrics to accurately value and compensate for the protection of nature, biodiversity, socio-economic co-benefits, and the provision of climate services;
- Finalise and implement the draft African Union Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, with the view to realise the 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature;
- Accelerate implementation of the African Union Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan (2022-2032); and
- Identify, prioritise and adapt development policymaking and planning, including in the context of national plans and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
Global call to action
The Nairobi Declaration calls upon world leaders and development partners from both the global south and north:
- To accelerate the ongoing initiatives to reform the
multilateral financial system and global financial architecture,
- 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;
- To refine the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatments in an adequate and timely manner;
- To provide a comprehensive and systemic response to the incipient debt crisis outside of default frameworks to create the fiscal space that all developing countries need in order to finance development and climate action;
- For the establishment of a new financing architecture that is responsive to Africa's needs, including debt restructuring, debt relief, and the development of a new Global Climate Finance Charter through UNGA and COP processes by 2025;
- To rally behind a global carbon tax on fossil fuels trade, aviation, and maritime transport; and
- Implement a global financial transaction tax to provide dedicated, accessible, and affordable finance for climate-positive investments.
The Nairobi Declaration gives one voice to the African continent regarding the climate change crisis and, upon its implementation, will result in changes in the regulation of climate and sustainability finance in African States.
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