NON-STATE ACTORS (NSAs) STEERING COMMITTEE
BY NJOKI KARANJA
The Africa Climate Summit -Non-State Actors’ Committee (NSAC) welcomes the Declaration of the Africa Climate Summit, issued by the Heads of States on September 6, 2023, as a positive step towards a more ambitious,fair, equitable, ecologically just and inclusive global response to the climate crisis.
We recognise the pressing need for the global community to decrease emissions, decarbonise economies and align with the Paris Agreement, and appreciate the Declaration for reaffirming the principles of common but differentiate responsibilities and equity, which are vital for a just and efficient global response.
Therefore,we also commend the Declaration for acknowledging the problem of loss and damage caused by climate change, which is already affecting several African communities. We urge the international community to put into effect the Loss and Damage Facility established during COP27 and to provide sufficient and consistent assistance to the countries and individuals who are most vulnerable.
As NSAs, we strongly support the Declaration’s call for investing in public finance for green economic development. We equally reiterate our unequivocal support for reforming the global financial architecture to address African countries’ challenges, especially climate finance. Particularly, we welcome proposals for debt relief, concessional finance, and innovative financial mechanisms, and endorse the Bridgetown Process, which aims to align finance with sustainable development goals and human rights –all in a sense, signalling the acknowledgement of the imperatives of climate justice!
We appreciate the recognition of the critical importance of reversing biodiversity loss and explicit commitments made to protect and enhance nature and biodiversity, and to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity, as well as restoration of degraded lands.
However, we are still concerned that the Summit missed an opportunity to have a strong African position that established the route to addressing the climate crisis.
We express our disappointment that the Declaration does not prioritize adaptation as a critical concern for Africa and leaves it a mere peripheral issue. We would like to remind the Heads of States that adaptation is not only crucial for survival but also a matter of justice.
Africa is one of the regions that are most affected by climate change, even though it contributes the least to its causes. Therefore, we urge the authorities to accord equal attention and resources to both adaptation and mitigation in their national and international actions. Additionally, we demand that adaptation strategies are designedbased on local knowledge, needs, capacities, and human rights principles.We are also concerned that the Declaration does not adequately address the emotive issue of just transition, which is crucial for ensuring that no one is left behind in the shift to a low-carbon economy. We note that the Declaration only mentions just transition once without any details or commitments on how we should define itin our own narratives and perspectives, and how it will be implemented.
Therefore, the NSAC urges Heads of State to adopt a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to just transition that is contextual and responsive to African realities, aspirations, and desires, and will discourage experimentation on false solutions that exacerbate the climate crisis. This approach involves the meaningful participation of workers, communities, civil society, and other stakeholders in planning and implementing policies that promote decent work, social protection, human rights, gender equality, and environmental justice. Such an approach should also ensure the vast resources driving the transition, including wind, solar and geothermal, as well as critical minerals spread across the continent, restore hope to the people who have known such resources to be the source of pain, conflict and misery.
Curiously, also, the Summit did not pronounce itself on how African leaders will collectively work together to exert pressure on developed countries to deliver on the financial commitments previously made by the historical emitters. The failure to advance for framework for pushing for a funding mechanism to fund some of the critical climate-related interventions that protect those most affected by inequality and discrimination who are often children, youth and women, was another waterloo for the Summit’s Declaration.
The propagation and political advancement for implementation of the carbon market with no clear evidence that it works remains one of the bold posters of the Global North attempting to advance approaches that exonerate them and transfer the burden of action to the victims of their actions. Right at the onset, the Summit exonerated the rich countries from taking full responsibility for their historical and current emissions that have taken us to the current state of global warming.
We are disappointed the Declaration’s Call to Action does not reflect this recognition of the value of nature and biodiversity. Consequently, the NSAC urges the Heads of State to include more specific actions and targets in their national and regional plans and policies for biodiversity conservation and restoration.
In addition, the NSAC calls on them to ensure that they integrate nature-based solutions into their mitigation and adaptation strategies.
As we head to COP28, NSAC insists on the following:
- Developed countries fulfil their historical responsibility and provide adequate and predictable finance, technology transfer, and capacity building to support adaptation, mitigation, and loss and damage in Africa. We are much more keen to collaborate in pushing for grant-based funding mechanisms.
- Reiterate our Position on the rejection of the promotion of Carbon Markets that are not responsive and do not serve the climate justice imperatives for Africa. We further urge for continued dialogue in the spirit of closing knowledge gaps on Carbon Markets that are apparent, at all levels.
- African leaders commit to a just and equitable transition to renewable energy, ensuring that energy access is prioritised for the poor and marginalised and that community ownership and participation are guaranteed.
- Urge African leaders to stand by the principles of climate justice, human rights, gender equality, and intergenerational equity in all climate policies and actions.
In conclusion,the NSAC is optimistic that this Declaration is a forward step towards accomplishing more ambitious and comprehensive climate action in Africa and globally. The NSAC is fully prepared to collaborate with the Heads of State and other stakeholders in the implementation of the Africa Climate Summit’s Declaration and in collectivizing Africa’s position towards COP28.