The just concluded Africa Climate Summit, a significant gathering of leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders, unfolded for 3 days against the backdrop of pressing environmental challenges. Governments, organisations, and heads of African states deliberated on crucial resolutions to address climate change, carbon credits, and various environmental issues, amid a backdrop of criticism from young activists.
The inaugural Africa Climate Summit, which concluded on Wednesday at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, issued a declaration urging a swift transformation in the manner in which more affluent nations interact with the continent.
Although Africa’s per capita emissions are notably below the global average, the continent experiences a disproportionate impact from increasing global temperatures and escalating consequences of climate change.
At the summit – which I was proud to attend personally – African governments have been urged to review their climate policies. Lax reforms have been holding back carbon investments in the continent for decades, and despite efforts from various African governments to venture into green initiatives, tangible action hasn’t been forthcoming on the scale needed.
What were the resolutions and commitments?
Governments and organisations have emphasised the urgent need for climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. Many African nations have pledged to enhance their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance resilience to climate impacts.
Similarly, carbon trading and credit systems have taken centre stage in discussions. African countries are exploring opportunities to harness carbon credits, emphasising the importance of environmental integrity, transparency, and fair distribution of benefits. During President Ruto’s speech, he argued that Africa’s carbon credit should be worth $50 billion by 2030.
Additionally, Ruto unveiled the ‘Nairobi Declaration’ at the conclusion of the summit. The document is to serve as Africa’s position on climate change and explain how it intends to tackle present challenges. Details were scarce, but the document is expected to be read at COP28 this December.
The summit has seen a strong commitment to expanding renewable energy sources. African leaders have emphasised the need to transition to cleaner, sustainable energy systems to combat both climate change and energy poverty on the continent.
Youth involvement at the summit, meanwhile, did not go unnoticed. The pivotal role of young activists and leaders was recognised by officials, many of whom pledged to enhance communication and engagement in upcoming decision-making processes.
At the event, private investors announced Africa would secure a $23 billion kitty that will go toward projects including solar microgrids, carbon markets, and reforestation. In this, developed nations pledged increased financial support, as announced by both US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, and the European Union President, Ursula von der Leyen.