On this auspicious Monday, September 4th, Nairobi, Kenya hosts the inaugural African Climate Summit. Over three days, leaders from Africa and beyond will converge to engage with representatives from civil society, public and private enterprises, and international organizations. Their stated objective: is to forge a joint continental roadmap to be presented at COP28 in November.
This time around, participants are committed to translating discussions into tangible actions. An official from a West African climate-focused NGO firmly declared, “Gathering and achieving nothing, as often happens in such meetings, is not an option.”
Nairobi will welcome approximately twenty African heads of state or government, alongside nearly 20,000 delegates from across the globe.
Kenyan President William Ruto, as host, spearheads the event with the aspiration that this gathering will mark a shift in how the continent mobilizes on environmental issues.
Over these three days, the summit aims to delve into topics such as green growth for the continent and climate action financing. These themes will be explored through debates and roundtable discussions featuring prominent figures, including Azali Assoumani, the President of the African Union, and Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
The true ambition of this event is to formulate a common approach and articulate “African solutions” to the climate challenges, culminating in the signing of a “Nairobi Declaration.”
Should this materialize, it would signify a robust commitment from Africa, less than three months before COP28 commences in late November in Dubai.
Substantial and tangible commitments are eagerly anticipated. African countries are among the most vulnerable to climate change, contending with a surge in natural disasters such as droughts, floods, and cyclones. These challenges are compounded by limited resources, especially in countries burdened by debt.
Consequently, discussions at the summit will likely center on the necessity for a revamped climate financial framework. This could involve debt restructuring and the implementation of taxes on fossil fuels and polluting industries, such as aviation and maritime transport.
The summit intends to underscore the continent’s potential in combatting climate change, with expected commitments encompassing enhanced agricultural production, the preservation of oceans and forests, and the expansion of renewable energy sources.