Simon Stiell: it’s a global responsibility to collectively drive Africa’s green growth


UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell, in a keynote speech at the Ministerial Opening of the Africa Climate Summit and the Africa Climate Week in Nairobi, Kenya emphasized on the need to address climate finance

Excellencies, Ministers, colleagues, friends

I am honoured to be here, at the Africa Climate Summit and the first of four regional climate weeks of 2023.

I want to thank the Kenyan government and personally President Ruto for his leadership and vision in bringing us together.

This summit, for Africa, by Africa will help us tackle the climate crisis we see and feel around the world.

I speak to you today not just as head of the UNFCCC, but as a former Minister from a developing country.

So, let’s talk about what we can do to stabilize the climate and build resilient societies, in Africa and throughout the world.

Development is, as it should be, a priority.

I know, personally, the destruction that climate-related disaster can wreak on years of development.

But the world is asking a lot: Develop, but don’t do it in the carbon intensive way that we did in the past. Therefore, it is a global responsibility to collectively work out how we do that.

Every day this week, we’ll be putting our heads together to discuss how to build resilience to climate risks, transition to a low-emission economy and collaborate on solutions. Transforming our economies through a just transition that benefits all sectors of society.

Africa, the equal partner in this endeavour, is offering its huge potential.

We already know innovation in Africa is astounding.

So how can we accelerate this development, through green technology and energy? And in doing so, taking the necessary actions to keeping 1.5 within reach.

First, we must address finance.

Climate action, just like everything else in life, costs money. Finance should be viewed in the context of mitigation and adaptation, in addition to other things.

COP28 will be a critical moment to hold the line on temperature rise at 1.5 degrees.

The world needs to reduce emissions by 43 percent from 2019 levels by 2030 to achieve this. And the IPCC reports that impacts will be far greater at anything above this, especially in certain parts of the world.

So for starters to hold this off we immediately need to see:

The delivery of the pledged 100 billion dollars. A doubling of adaptation finance. Substantial replenishment of the Green Climate Fund. A global finance system – public and private – aligned with climate action and green finance.

At COP27, I committed to ensure the Secretariat does all that it can to support Parties to deliver on their commitments.

I see our role as catching what you, Parties, throw and shining a light on how you can, together, throw it higher to get it in the basket.

I also committed to maximizing the opportunities available to us to build collaboration throughout the year between the COPs. This Africa Climate Week is a good example on delivering just that.

In the past, we used to have only three to four mandated events associated with the Regional Climate Weeks. Now there are 20. We have been working to cluster them, not just for efficiency and resource saving’s sake, but also because it is here, in the regions, where catalytic connections are made and we can super charge action on the ground.

I want to see Africa Climate Week usher in climate action on three pivotal fronts.

First, it must enable governments to amplify their contributions and commitments.

Second, strengthen regional bonds and collaboration.

Third, and perhaps most profoundly, empower local transformation.

So that African nations can come to COP28 – less than 100 days away – leading on action and ambition.

At COP28, the first global stocktake will review our progress on climate action. We know we are not on track.

Our response to those findings is a key opportunity to course-correct towards a sustainable future. As well as how we respond to those impacts we know cannot be averted through our approach to loss and damage and operationalizing the fund and funding arrangements at COP28.

The discussions taking place here will inform the global stocktake about the challenges, barriers, solutions and opportunities for climate action and support within the context of Africa.

The UNFCCC Secretariat can work with you to identify the opportunities for Africa and facilitate the solutions.

Excellencies, Ministers, the world is counting on your continued collaboration, and leadership.

I thank you.