Nairobi, Kenya, 7 Sept. 2023 (ECA) - African leaders, calling for urgent action by developed countries to reduce carbon emissions, have proposed a new financing mechanisms to restructure Africa’s crippling debt and unlock climate funding.
In a call to action, African leaders attending the inaugural Africa Climate Summit held in Nairobi, Kenya, stressed the importance of decarbonizing the global economy for equality and shared prosperity. They called for investment to promote the sustainable use of Africa’s natural assets for the continent’s transition to low carbon development and contribution to global decarbonization.
“We call for a comprehensive and systemic response to the incipient debt crisis outside default frameworks to create the fiscal space that all developing countries need to finance development and climate action,” African leaders said in the Nairobi Declaration on Climate Change and Call to Action, adopted at the conclusion of the Africa Climate Summit.
The Africa Climate Summit (ACS) brought together global leaders, intergovernmental organizations, Regional Economic Communities, United Nations Agencies, private sector, civil society organizations, indigenous peoples, local communities, farmer organizations, children, youth, women and academia to discuss Africa’s climate change challenges and formulate sustainable solutions.
The leaders expressed concern that many African countries face disproportionate burdens and risks from climate change-related, unpredictable weather events and patterns. The impacts have included prolonged droughts, devastating floods, wild and forest fires, which cause massive humanitarian crisis with detrimental impacts on economies, health, education, peace and security, among other risks, the leaders said, acknowledging that climate change is the single greatest challenge facing humanity and the single biggest threat to all life on earth.
Underlining that Africa was not historically responsible for global warming, but bore the brunt of its effect, impacting lives, livelihoods, and economies, the leaders emphasized that the continent possessed the potential and the ambition to be a vital component of the global solution to climate change.
“We note that multilateral finance reform is necessary but not sufficient to provide the scale of climate financing the world needs to achieve 45 percent emission reduction required to meet the Paris 2030 agreements, without which keeping global warming to 1.5% will be in serious jeopardy,” the Declaration said, noting that, “Additionally, that the scale of financing required to unlock Africa’s climate positive growth is beyond the borrowing capacity of national balance sheets.”
The African leaders further called for the acceleration of on-going initiatives to reform the multilateral financial system and global financial architecture including the Bridgetown Initiative, the Accra-Marrakech Agenda, the UN Secretary General’s SDG Stimulus Proposal and the Paris Summit for a New Global Financing Pact.
“We urge world leaders to rally behind the proposal for a [global] carbon taxation regime including a carbon tax on fossil fuel trade, maritime transport and aviation, that may also be augmented by a global financial transaction tax (FTT)) to provide dedicated affordable and accessible finance for climate positive investments at scale and ring fencing of these resources and decision making from geopolitical and national interests,” the leaders urged.
The Summit proposed a new financing architecture responsive to Africa’s needs including debt restructuring and relief and the development of a new Global Climate Finance Charter through the United Nations General Assembly and the COP processes by 2025.
“We call for collective global action to mobilize the necessary capital for both development and climate action, echoing the statement of the Paris Summit for a New Global Financing Pact that no country should ever have to choose between development aspirations and climate action,” they said, emphasizing the need for concrete action and speed on proposals to reform the multilateral financial system currently under discussion specifically to build resilience to climate shocks and better deployment of the Special Drawing Rights liquidity mechanism.
The Nairobi Declaration was adopted to be the basis for Africa’s common position in the global climate change process to COP 28 and beyond. It was also noted that the Africa Climate Summit should be established as a biennial event convened by African Union and hosted by AU Member States, “to set the continent’s new vision taking into consideration emerging global climate and development issues”.
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