Shitima L and Mwebaza R during the meeting The Pearl Dream Inc

African negotiators commit to elevating continent’s voice on climate change

By Temwa Mhone

NAIROBI-(MaraviPost)-The African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) lead coordinators are meeting in Nairobi to deliberate on and elevate key issues in relation to Africa’s interests and expectations for COP28.

This is ahead of the inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS) to be co-hosted by Kenya and the African Union Commission (AUC) in Nairobi from September 4 to 6, 2023.

The ACS, which will be held under the theme: “Green Growth and Climate Finance for Africa and the World,” is envisaged to ensure Africa’s voice is elevated globally and integrated into existing international meetings such as the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), G7/G20 processes and COP 28, among others.

Speaking during the opening session of the meeting on Thursday, AGN Chair, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima, urged the lead coordinators to continue highlighting the continent’s needs.

He said: “We have a critical role as technical advisors to policymakers on Africa’s effective participation in the global climate negotiations in relation to the continent’s development realities and aspirations.”

In her remarks, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office Director for Africa, Rose Mwebaza, appreciated the AGN’s role, over the years, in Africa’s effective participation in the climate processes and urged the group to remain focused.

African negotiators commit to elevating continent’s voice on climate change 3

“I believe these are exciting times as the continent prepares to host the inaugural Africa Climate Summit. As technical negotiators, I urge you to remain focused and provide the necessary guidance in relation to the continent’s development needs,” said Mwebaza.

The Summit will be held concurrently with the Africa Climate Week from September 4 – 8 2023, an annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) led event to promote actions that allow to course-correct and achieve the Paris Agreement goals and objectives.

The meeting is expected to bring together leaders from Africa and beyond; development partners; intergovernmental organisations; the private sector; academia; civil society organizations; women and youth to design and catalyse actions and solutions for climate change in Africa by providing a platform to deliberate on the nexus between climate change, Africa’s development reality, and the need to push for increased investment in climate action globally, and specifically in Africa.

In addition to the African common position on the various climate thematic negotiating streams, AGN Lead Coordinators are also deliberating on the Nairobi Declaration, a key outcome document expected at the end of the summit.

Opportunity for Africa
Africa is believed to be the continent of the future. As the youngest and fastest urbanizing continent with a population set to double to 2.5 billion by 2050, Africa has immense potential in clean energy, arable land, critical minerals, and natural resources. While the continent is already demonstrating strong momentum in driving green growth, it needs to capitalize on this existing momentum by (a) driving a holistic Green Growth Agenda that takes advantage of its vast resources, and (b) securing Climate Finance tailored to Africa’s needs to achieve its growth ambitions.

Africa’s renewables potential will be fifty times the global anticipated electricity demand in 2040. However, renewable energy accounts for 10 percent of the electricity generation mix, and only 20 percent of the total installed electricity generation capacity in Africa.

Whereas Africa is home to 30-40 percent of the world’s minerals – including those needed for green energy transition/batteries (for example over 40 percent of global reserves of cobalt, manganese, and platinum), the continent has little to show for in terms of clean energy and mobility.

Similarly, while Africa has 60 percent of the world’s remaining uncultivated arable land, that, when sustainably exploited can help the world attain food security, the continent is a net importer of food. The summit is thus looking to address the need to change Africa’s narrative on climate change to be a growth agenda by harnessing opportunities that exist for economic transformation.

This agenda will focus on five core growth thrusts: energy transition/ renewable energy; green minerals and manufacturing; sustainable agriculture, land, and water/ ocean use; sustainable infrastructure and urbanization; and natural capital supported by two important cross-cutting levers (Adaptation and resilience to climate risk and Climate finance and Carbon Credits).

The outputs from the Summit will also aim to provide important input and direction to the ongoing work on global financial institution reforms to support such a growth agenda with corresponding shifts in their own pathways.

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