The inaugural Africa Climate Summit came to an end Wednesday September 6, 2023 with the adoption of the Nairobi Declaration which urges global support as Africa charts a sustainable path in the fight against climate change.
The heart of the historic summit was the adoption of the comprehensive declaration by 16 African leaders, ministers and global environmental advocates.
The Nairobi Declaration addresses vital issues ranging from climate financing and trade tariffs to climate debt restructuring — all while reiterating Africa’s unwavering commitment to phasing down coal use and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies.
It proposed “a new financing architecture that is responsive to Africa’s needs including debt restructuring and relief, including the development of a new Global Climate Finance Charter through UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) and COP (Conference of the Parties) processes by 2025.”
The declaration emphasized the need for financial support from developed countries to assist African nations in mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change. African leaders made a resounding call to developed nations to uphold their commitments to deliver $100 billion in annual climate finance.
“We call for collective global action to mobilize the necessary capital for both development and climate action,” it read in part, noting that there is an urgency to mobilize financial resources for climate adaptation and mitigation, ensuring that vulnerable communities receive the support required.
Trade tariffs were also in the spotlight with leaders discussing strategies to promote sustainable trade practices that foster environmental conservation.
“We call upon the international community to contribute to designing global and regional trade mechanisms in a manner that enables products from Africa to compete on fair and equitable terms,” according to the declaration.
Regarding debt, leaders expressed a collective commitment to reframing the conversation to accommodate the unique challenges posed by climate change.
The declaration acknowledged that climate-induced disasters can exacerbate financial burdens on African nations, necessitating innovative solutions to alleviate debt pressures.
Additionally, it encouraged new measures to enhance debt management, including the incorporation of “debt pause clauses.”
One of the most notable elements was the unwavering pledge to phase down coal use and eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, leaders said transitioning to clean and renewable energy sources is essential to combat climate change effectively.
Experts have widely praised the declaration and hailed it as a pivotal step toward addressing the urgent climate challenges facing Africa.
Fredrick Kwame Kumah, the vice president responsible for global leadership at the Africa Wildlife Foundation, emphasized the distinctiveness of the summit in an interview with Anadolu.
He underscored the pivotal role of taking ownership and providing political guidance and willpower for climate action.
Kumah also highlighted another distinctive aspect of the summit.
“This summit places climate finance at the very core of climate discussions, making resource allocation a central focus to ensure global support for Africa. Additionally, it centers the concerns of ordinary people in the heart of the negotiations,” he said.