Leonard Ncube, [email protected]
ZIMBABWE is preparing for the continental Africa Climate Summit to be held in Nairobi, Kenya next week, where African member states are expected to come up with a position paper ahead of the Conference of Parties (Cop28) later this year.
Outgoing Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu, will lead the country’s delegation comprising Government officials and environmental experts for the summit set for 4 to 6 September.
The event will run concurrently with commendations for Africa Climate Week, which will run from 4 to 8 September.
The African Union and Kenya are hosting the event in partnership with various international organisations including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, International Organisation for Migration, European Union, Children’s Investment Fund, Foundation, The Rockfeller Foundation, Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, Government of Denmark, Government of Germany, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and France.
Kenyan President, William Ruto, who will be the host is on record saying the event will be a critical opportunity to accelerate global energy transition and deliver African solutions to the COP28 in Dubai in November.
Climate action is not a global north or global south issue but a collective challenge hence needs communities to come together to find common solutions.
The summit aims to address growing exposure to climate change and its associated costs and will serve as a platform to inform, frame and influence commitments, pledges and outcomes leading to the Nairobi Declaration.
The Africa Climate Week runs parallel to provide a platform for policymakers, practitioners, businesspersons, and civic society to engage notes and leading to the first global stocktake concluding at COP28.
Issues like energy systems and industry, cities, urban and rural settlements, infrastructure and transport; land, ocean, food and water; and societies, health, livelihoods and economies will form part of the discussions to provide regional-focused contributions to inform the global stock take and collective action to tackle climate change.
Director of climate change management in the Ministry of Environment Dr Washington Zhakata said a variety of critical issues will be discussed, of particular importance the issues of how countries can transit from fossil to renewable forms of fuels or non-emitting energy generation so that we reduce the rate of emitting gases.
“Zimbabwe will be represented at the Africa Climate Summit by the Honourable Minister of Environment Mangaliso Ndlovu who will be accompanied by several Government officials to this Africa Summit,” he said.
“The aim of this summit is to put together various African member parties to discuss issues to do with climate change in preparation for the Conference of Parties 28. Other issues to be discussed relate to loss and damage funds, which were to be channeled to those countries, companies that are under stress because of the impact of climate change,” said Dr Zhakata.
He said a compensation mechanism was established at COP27 and will be finalised at COP28 in Dubai where the fund will be accessible to the developing world. The architecture of the fund is yet to be finalised.
“Other issues are to do with resourcing of finance windows for access also by developing countries for climate change mitigation, issues to do with failure by developed countries to resource the green climate fund.
“One of the major concerns and countries would want to make a declaration to be taken to the United Nations General Assembly,” added Dr Zhakata.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is one of the organisations that will participate at the summit.
IFAW Zimbabwe country director Ms Alleta Nyahuye said the organisation sees the conference as a great opportunity for the continent to leverage support for the protection, restoration and effective management of its immense natural wealth.
She said IFAW, which supports wildlife conservation activities in Zimbabwe and other countries, will host several activities including a dinner, side events, and exhibition to showcase its unique approach to building climate-resilient landscapes through climate-smart, landscape-based wildlife conservation.
IFAW president and CEO Mr Azzedine Downes, executive VP Mr Jason Bell, and Africa director Mr James Isiche will be among the key speakers.
“Based on 20 years of scientific knowledge, IFAW believes that tackling the climate crisis in a holistic manner builds climate-resilient landscapes in which people and animals will thrive together. IFAW will showcase pilot projects in East and Southern Africa under the Room to Roam initiative, which provides building blocks for experience and lessons learnt to deliver transformational impact in the face of a changing climate,” said Ms Nyahuye.
She said increased vulnerability of local communities to climate extremes has increased reliance on natural resources leading to over-exploitation.
As such, the habitat and wildlife have been under immense pressure from human-induced factors exacerbated by climate change,” she said.
“The Africa Climate Summit, therefore, provides an opportunity for delegates to discuss and proffer homegrown solutions at the continent level with scientific input from across the globe,” she said.
Hwange-based environmentalist Mr Daniel Sithole who is director for Green Shango Environment Trust and international climate change negotiator said the summit is a great opportunity for Africans to sum up their Pledge and Commitment
“Africa accounts for the smallest share of global greenhouse gas emissions, at just 3.8 percent but the continent is the most affected by climate change. Developed nations as such must honour their climate finance pledges,” he said.
Mr Sithole said this will position developing countries to successfully implement the Cop28 theme: “Technology & Innovation, Inclusion, Frontline Communities, and Finance Climate change mitigation and adaptation demands health funding.”