As one of the biggest climate events led by and hosted in countries in the Global South, the African Climate Summit marked an important milestone in forging and communicating to the globe, Africa’s climate change needs, priorities and positions.
The outcome of the Summit, the Nairobi Declaration, heralds a uniquely African and detailed shared set of positions and priorities on climate change, achieved through consensus between numerous countries with economically, geographically and resource diverse contexts. The Declaration highlights the pressing climate needs and vulnerabilities of African countries, but also focuses on the many opportunities and benefits that climate responses on the continent present. This narrative shift is an important and welcome one, as perceptions of risk, opportunities for partnership and collaboration are critical to unlocking the immense potential that climate action in Africa presents.
“We welcome the detailed statements in the Nairobi Declaration around the reform of the multilateral financial system. Following the recent publication of our report on the Priorities for an Equitable Reform of the Global Financial System, we look forward to working with our partners to increase the continent’s capacity for sustained transformative growth and resilience in the face of climate challenges,” said Maria Nkhonjera, Senior Programme Officer in Sustainable Finance.
“We trust that the momentum built at the Summit will lead towards a re-evaluation of development finance strategies and innovative enhancements in financial instruments and mechanisms,” says Nkhonjera.
Recognising Africa’s unique vulnerabilities to climate change, the ACF released a statement prior to the Summit welcoming its focus on scaling adaptation on the continent. The statement noted that to achieve this, adaptation actions need to simultaneously build resilience to climate impacts whilst supporting economic and social development goals, in a manner that builds on indigenous and local knowledge and expertise. This requires significant investments in adaptation and resilience building and innovative means to advance these at scale.
For these reasons, adaptation related measures set out in the Nairobi Declaration’s including adaptation strategies, finance, knowledge sharing, and the Global Goal on Adaptation should be prioritised.
The Nairobi Declaration’s ambitious commitment to renewable energy development on the continent sets an important precedent for enhanced global action on this issue ahead of COP28. The pledges made at the Summit will go some way to achieving this, however much more is still needed.
Looking ahead to the United Nations General Assembly, the World Bank and IMF annual meetings, the replenishment of the Green Climate Fund, various UNFCCC and Paris Agreement Working Group and Ministerial meetings and COP28 itself, the global community should support African countries in building on the momentum established at the Summit, and address the detailed measures expressed in the Declaration.
“Together, we believe that these will not only unlock the significant benefits and opportunities presented by the African continent, but they will go a long way to forging ambitious, effective and collaborative climate action across the globe,” says Olivia Rumble, Advisor to the ACF.