Tuesday, February 27, 2024

COP28 Take-home: Africa Calls For Action, Not Words

Timothy Machi.
Timothy Machi

From November 30 to December 12, 2023, the United Nations’ annual Climate Change Conference, COP28, will convene in Dubai, bringing together 70,000 delegates from around the world to tackle pressing issues related to climate change. While the agenda includes critical topics like the Loss and Damage Fund, climate finance, fossil fuel phase-out and energy transition acceleration, Africa, a continent disproportionately affected by climate change, has distinct and urgent expectations.

Demand for Climate Justice

Africa’s primary expectation is clear and urgent: it demands climate justice. The continent seeks concrete actions rather than mere rhetoric or empty promises. Wealthy and high-emitting nations must acknowledge their historical responsibility for the current climate crisis and take tangible steps to help African countries adapt to and mitigate the devastating impacts of climate change. Notably, COP28 should mark the beginning of the $100 billion promised in climate finance by the Global North in 2020 actually flowing into Africa.

Addressing Loss and Damage

Another crucial financial matter is the Loss and Damage Fund, introduced at COP27 in Egypt last year to compensate for the losses and damages caused by climate change. While the fund is a significant step forward, tangible contributions from culpable nations are essential for it to reach those in need.

Clean Energy Revolution

Africa is committed to a clean energy revolution. Leaders at the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi pledged to increase renewable energy capacity from 56GW to 300GW by 2030, but this alone is insufficient without systematically phasing out fossil fuels. COP28 is expected to ignite this revolution, urging developed nations to provide funding and support to help Africa end its fossil fuel dependency and become a global leader in clean energy.

Adaptation and Resilience

Already grappling with the harsh impacts of climate change, from floods to prolonged droughts, Africa insists that COP28 prioritise adaptation and resilience measures. This includes funding for climate-smart agriculture, water management strategies, and early warning systems. Africa seeks concrete solutions empowering vulnerable communities and protecting its people from the escalating climate crisis.

Preserving Biodiversity and Natural Resources

Africa’s unique biodiversity and natural resources are under severe threat due to climate change. COP28 must recognise the importance of conserving and protecting these ecosystems, emphasising sustainable land management practices, reforestation initiatives and community-based conservation projects.

Enhancing Climate Governance

Africa expects COP28 to strengthen climate governance at both national and international levels. Transparency, accountability, and reporting mechanisms must be reinforced to ensure the timely fulfillment of commitments by countries. Capacity-building initiatives should empower African nations to effectively implement climate policies and access climate finance. African voices must have equal weight in global climate negotiations.

Youth Involvement

At the core of Africa’s vision for COP28 are its young leaders and minds, envisioning a world with clean air, thriving ecosystems, and economic prosperity. The success of COP28 hinges on climate policies and interventions that provide room for Africa’s youth to shape the world they will inherit and policies that support industrialization and job creation on the continent.

In conclusion, Africa expects COP28 to move beyond rhetoric and witness substantial actions from developed nations, ensuring that climate justice prevails, adaptation measures are prioritized, and the continent can lead the way in clean energy and environmental conservation. The involvement of the youth and strengthened climate governance are integral components for a successful outcome. It’s a call for less talk and more tangible progress in the fight against climate change.

Machi is the Kenya Country Coordinator and RePlanet Africa media and communications lead and can be reached via machi@replanetafrica.ngo and 0705362874.

Timothy Machi
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