Africa urged to accelerate climate action and ensure a just transition


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Writes Baboloki Semele

Nairobi, Kenya: 07 September 2023: The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Acting Executive Secretary, Antonio Pedro has challenged African leaders to accelerate climate action through effective strategies to ensure a just transition.

Mr. Pedro said this in his closing remarks during the three-day 11th Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA), which concluded with technical inputs for the 4-6 September Africa Climate Summit also being held in Nairobi, Kenya.

Mr Pedro noted that the lack of the right global enabling environment and strong global action on climate change would lead to dire consequences for the world, Africa included.

He reiterated that without effective strategies at a country level and governments not taking responsibility for converting the immense potential of the continent into tangible benefits for its people, Africa risks being left behind in a world undergoing an unjust transition.

He pointed out that there is a potential for a horrific scenario where the world fails to reduce emissions to avert the dire projections made by climate scientists. Mr. Pedro added that, even in the event of successful emissions reduction, there could be a troubling outcome: an unjust transition, pointing out that the scenario would imply that planetary systems are saved on terms that serve today’s elites, while extreme poverty is allowed to persist.

He underscored that the CCDA reaffirmed its pivotal role as a forum for the continent to identify opportunities and solutions in the face of climate and development crises.

Mr. Pedro described the 2023 CCDA as a milestone that has set the tone for the African Climate Summit which seeks to address the increasing exposure to climate change and its associated costs, particularly in Africa. The Africa climate summit (4-6 Sept 2023) served as a platform to inform, frame, and influence commitments, pledges, and outcomes, ultimately leading to the development of the Nairobi Declaration.

Commenting on the CCDA, Mr. Pedro said discussions have been open, constructive, and encouraging. Furthermore, the discussions underscored that by uniting and engaging in honest dialogue on potential pathways towards a greener, more inclusive Africa, the 21st century will be paved with opportunities for Africa.

Mr. Pedro said a dual approach of advocating for climate justice at the international level and actively pursuing concrete solutions at the national and local levels in African countries was needed as

Strengthening the blue economy as per the Moroni declaration and using Africa’s mining sector for green industrialization as well as leveraging carbon markets for monetizing the continent’s natural wealth are all part of an integrated endeavor to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063. He commended Kenya for paving the way for African voices and solutions to feature prominently at the upcoming SDG Summit and COP28 in the United Arab Emirates in November 2023. He said ECA is establishing the foundation for a sustained strong African position, carrying on the legacy of COP27 held in Egypt last year.

He paid tribute to participants and partners, including the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank, and the host government of Kenya. Held annually since 2011, CCDA is a flagship event of the Climate for Development in Africa Initiative (Clim-Dev) a joint collaboration of the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank, and the Economic Commission for Africa.

It is held in partnership with the Government of any African Union Member State that hosts the Conference, ahead of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC (COP). The annual conference brings together different African stakeholder groups on climate change to discuss key climate change and development challenges facing the continent as well as identify opportunities and solutions. The conference promotes evidence-based and analytically grounded contributions that feed into the African common position meetings in the international discourse on climate change.

Organized as the technical segment in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry of the Government of Kenya and the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance, the 11th CCDA constitutes the technical segment of the Africa Climate Summit.