ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF

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Africa speaks with one voice on climate action and equitable growth

Of all the world’s regions, Africa contributes the least to global greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation. Yet, the African continent is acutely vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis. Extreme weather conditions and environmental damage caused by climate change are destroying livelihoods and negatively impacting millions of lives across the African region.

The Africa Climate Summit that took place recently in Nairobi, Kenya, in parallel with Africa Climate Week, sought to rally African nations around meaningful collective action. The Summit, which brought together leaders and high-level delegates from across the continent, culminated in the unanimous adoption of the Nairobi Declaration that presented Africa as part of the solution to the climate crisis and highlighted its role as a green powerhouse. 

Addressing the high cost of climate financing on the continent, the final declaration urged rich nations and the largest emitters of greenhouse gases to honor their pledges to fund climate action in developing and poorer countries. According to researchers, Africa only receives around 12% of the annual financing it needs to cope with the impacts of climate change.

Described as marking “a pivotal moment in our collective efforts” by President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E. Dr. William Ruto, the declaration will underpin Africa’s negotiating position at the upcoming COP28 summit in Dubai and drive African commitment toward green growth and sustainable development.

The need to increase financing and reap the benefits of climate action in Africa was also echoed by Amujae Leader Bogolo Kenewendo who attended the Summit alongside other African women leaders. Investing in Africa’s sustainable development and closing the climate-finance gap must be considered a priority by governments, the private sector, and multilateral lenders, she stressed in an op-ed coinciding with the event in Nairobi.

In her intervention at the Summit as the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions’ Special Advisor, Africa Director, Ms. Kenewendo called for urgent financing measures to accelerate the transition to cleaner energy and help African countries recover from climate disasters.

Advocating for solutions that drive equitable sustainable development and economic growth in Africa, women leaders also convened at the Summit to underscore the prominent role of women in driving climate solutions.

Amujae Leader and Governor of Kirinyaga County in Kenya, Anne Waiguru, joined African women leaders – including Kenya’s First Lady, H.E. Rachel Ruto – in stressing the importance of women’s economic participation in propelling sustainable development and inclusive growth.

Women, who are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change, are shaping conversations and actions around climate change in Africa. Their role as drivers of innovative solutions must be supported and strengthened for a brighter, greener future for all.

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