Africa, which has suffered climate change impacts the most, must accelerate climate action through effective strategies to ensure a just transition, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Acting Executive Secretary, Antonio Pedro has challenged leaders.
“The lack of the right global enabling environment and strong global action on climate would lead to dire consequences for all of us,” Mr. Pedro, said, in closing the three-day 11th Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA), which concluded with technical inputs for the 4-6 September Africa Climate Summit also being held in Nairobi, Kenya.
Reiterating that without effective strategies at country level and governments not taking responsibility for converting the immense potential of the continent into tangible benefits for its people, Mr. Pedro said Africa risks being left behind in a world undergoing an unjust transition.
“There is a potential for a horrific scenario where the world fails to reduce emissions to avert the dire projections made by climate scientists,” said Mr. Pedro, adding that, “Yet, even in the event of successful emissions reduction, there could be a troubling outcome: an unjust transition. This scenario would imply that planetary systems are saved on terms that serve today’s elites, while extreme poverty is allowed to persist.”
He underscored that the CCDA reaffirmed its pivotal role as a forum for the continent to identify opportunities and solutions in the face of climate and development crises.
Pedro described the 2023 CCDA as a milestone which has set the tone for the African Climate Summit which seeks to address the increasing exposure to climate change and its associated costs particularly in Africa. The Summit (4-6 Sept 2023) will serve as a platform to inform, frame, and influence commitments, pledges, and outcomes, ultimately leading to the development of the Nairobi Declaration.
Commenting on the CCDA, Mr. Pedro said discussions have been open, constructive, and encouraging. Furthermore, the discussions underscored that by uniting and engaging in honest dialogue on potential pathways towards a greener, more inclusive Africa, the 21st century will be paved with opportunities for Africa.
Pedro said a dual approach of advocating for climate justice at the international level and actively pursuing concrete solutions at the national and local levels in African countries was needed as ‘This is not a choice between one or the other’.
Strengthening the blue economy as per the Moroni declaration and to use Africa’s mining sector for green industrialization as well as to leverage carbon markets for monetizing the continent’s natural wealth are all part of an integrated endeavor to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063, Mr. Pedro said. He commended Kenya for paving the way for African voices and solutions to feature prominently at the upcoming SDG Summit and COP28 in the United Arab Emirates in November 2023.
“We are establishing the foundation for a sustained strong African position, carrying on the legacy of COP27,” he said.
Paying tribute to participants and partners, including the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and the host government of Kenya, Mr. Pedro called for productive and outcome-driven engagements at the Africa Climate Summit (4-6 September), building on the results of the 11th CCDA.