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‘Solutions, just transition, loss and damage fund’ — CSOs list expectations from ACS23

‘Solutions, just transition, loss and damage fund’ — CSOs list expectations from ACS23
September 04
06:51 2023

From September 4 to 6, African heads of state, UN leadership, and presidents from different parts of the world will gather at the Kenya International Convention Center (KICC) in Nairobi for the first Africa Climate Summit (ACS). 

The summit –with the theme ‘Driving Green Growth and Climate Finance Solution for Africa and the World’ – is expected to be a game-changer in the climate conversation in Africa as it aims to showcase the potential for investments in clean energy, agriculture and nature capital.

In a welcome address to conference delegates, Kenyan President William Ruto said the summit will gather the continent to “define and refine its fresh and distinctive position regarding how humanity should engage in effective action in order to save this planet from a climate catastrophe and at the same time lift hundreds of millions out of poverty”.

“African nations are emerging as the new torchbearers of the most impactful climate action and at the summit, we aspire to chart a new growth agenda that will deliver shared prosperity and sustainable development,” Ruto added.

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This idea of charting a growth agenda for Africa comes amidst numerous challenges facing the continent including poverty, food insecurity, energy poverty, and debt burden, amongst others, which are further exacerbated by the climate crisis and a lack of adequate finance for a just transition. 

‘ACS MUST OFFER OPPORTUNITIES TO DRIVE SOLUTIONS’

In line with Ruto’s vision, representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs) have said the summit must deliver actionable solutions for people living on the frontlines of the climate crisis.

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Mohammed Adow, director of energy at climate think-tank, Power Shift Africa, said the ACS needs to boost investments that will help African communities “adjust effectively, live in dignity and thrive”.

He said Africa did not cause the climate crisis but is critical to “determine whether humanity can fix it”, adding that how the continent develops over the next two decades  “will determine the fate of the planet”, given its abundant clean and renewable energy.

Mwandwe Chileshe, global policy lead for food security and agriculture at Global Citizen, said discussions at the summit must prioritise adaptation finance as well as the urgency to reform food systems.

He added that it is time to “bridge the gap between the urgency of the needs and the disparity in climate financing”, so as to help people grappling with the weight of climate change.

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‘ESCHEW WESTERN INFLUENCE IN DEFINING JUST TRANSITION’

Olumide Abimbola, founder and director of Africa Policy Research Institute, said the continent’s leaders are keen to utilise the abundant mineral resources to power industrialisation.

Abimbola said he hopes to see the conversation “come out strongly during the African Climate Summit. But beyond that, I am hoping to see deeper discussions regarding concrete plans for how to make this happen – and the roles that external actors can play here”.

Acknowledging these “external actors”, Nasreen Al-Amin, director, Surge Africa Organisation, is of the view that Africa needs to take the upper hand and ensure that “the terms at which instruments needed to drive climate action and an inclusive just energy transition are defined by them, not for them.” 

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“This will include rejecting any notion to turn Africa into a carbon markets hub, demanding fair adaptation finance, and signifying what an inclusive and fair transition should encompass,” she added. 

On her part, Ineza Umuhoza Grace, global coordinator of the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition, said the summit “must also lay the groundwork for operationalising a new, standalone loss and damage fund at COP28, backed by new, additional, and accessible finance that doesn’t increase debt for African countries”.

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As the summit kicks off, CSO leaders are hopeful that their recommendations will be considered in order to deliver needed action for Africa’s sustainable future.

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