Editor's Note: This article is extracted from "The African Leaders Nairobi Declaration on Climate Change and Call to Action" issued by African leaders at the Africa Climate Summit in early September, 2023.
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We, the African Heads of State and Government, gathered for the inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS) in Nairobi, Kenya, from 4th to 6th September 2023; in the presence of other global leaders, intergovernmental organizations, Regional Economic Communities, United Nations Agencies, private sector, civil society organizations, indigenous peoples, local communities, farmer organizations, children, youth, women and academia, hereby:
· Recall, the Assembly Decisions requesting the African Union Commission to organize an African Climate Summit and endorsing the offer by the Republic of Kenya to host the Summit.
· Take Note of the 6th Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), stating that the world is not on track to keeping within reach the 1.5°C limit agreed in Paris and that global emissions must be cut by 45% in this decade.
· Underscore the IPCC confirmation that Africa is warming faster than the rest of the world.
· Express concern that many African countries face disproportionate burdens and risks arising from climate change-related, unpredictable weather events and patterns.
· Acknowledge that climate change is the single greatest challenge facing humanity and the single biggest threat to all life on Earth.
· Recognise that Africa is not historically responsible for global warming, but bears the brunt of its effect.
· Further recognise that African cities and urban centres are growing rapidly, and by 2050 would be home to over 1.0 billion people. Rapid urbanization, poverty, and inequality limit planning capacities and other urban dynamics have turned cities into disaster hotspots across the continent.
· Recall that only seven years remain to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, and that 600 million people in Africa still lack access to electricity while 970 million lack access to clean cooking; and 418 million people still lack basic level of drinking water service.
Collective action needed.
We call upon the global community to act with urgency in reducing emissions, specifically to:
· Accelerate all efforts to reduce emissions to align with goals set forth in the Paris Agreement.
· Honor the commitment to provide $100 billion in annual climate finance, as promised 14 years ago at the Copenhagen conference.
· Uphold commitments to a fair and accelerated process of phasing down coal, and abolishment of all fossil fuel subsidies.
· Swiftly operationalize the Loss and Damage facility agreed at COP27.
We commit to:
· Strengthening continental collaboration, including but not limited to regional and continental grid interconnectivity, and further accelerating the operationalization of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement.
· Advancing green industrialization across the Continent by prioritizing energy-intense industries, with a special emphasis on adding value to Africa's natural endowments.
· Redoubling our efforts to boost agricultural yields through sustainable agricultural practices.
· Finalising and implementing the draft African Union Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, with the view to realizing the 2050 vision of "Living in Harmony with Nature".
· Supporting smallholder farmers, indigenous peoples, and local communities in the green economic transition.
· Identify, prioritize and mainstream adaptation into development policy-making and planning, including in the context of national plans and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
· Promoting investments in urban infrastructure including through upgrading informal settlements and slum areas to build climate resilient cities and urban centres.
· Strengthening early warning systems and climate information services, as well as taking early action to protect lives, livelihoods and assets and inform long-term decision-making related to climate change risks. We emphasise the importance of embracing indigenous knowledge and citizen science in both adaptation strategies and early warning systems.
· Supporting efforts under the Africa Investment Programme (AIP) aimed at closing the Africa's Water Investment gap by mobilizing at least US$30 billion per year by 2030.
· Accelerating implementation of the African Union Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan (2022-2032).
CALL TO ACTION
· Decide to establish the Africa Climate Summit as a biennial event convened by African Union and hosted by AU Member States, to set the continent's new vision taking into consideration emerging global climate and development issues.
· Decide also that this Declaration will serve as a basis for Africa's common position in the global climate change process to COP 28 and beyond.
· Request African Union Commission to develop an implementation framework and roadmap for this Declaration and to make Climate Change an AU theme for the Year 2025 or 2026.