The global climate summit, COP 28, gets underway today, President William Ruto is expected to lead the African delegation and to an extent the Global South leaders to push for among others, reparations, a suitable financial architecture, and draw a plan on how the developing nations will address climate change.
Dr Ruto has emerged as Africa’s Diplomat-In-Chief championing the cause of climate change and calling attention to economic vagaries in Africa and the global South. He leads the Africa delegation of the continental agenda as AU’s Chair of the Climate Change Presidential Summit sub-committee.
Among key AU agenda is piling pressure on international financial institutions, among them the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), to change their traditional funding paradigms in the face of climate change-driven threats to developing economies.
The United Nations Climate Change Conference takes place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from November 30 to December 12.
Ruto’s diplomatic journey has not been smooth sailing. It has been a drastic turn of fortunes in the last 10 years – from fighting International Criminal Court’s (ICC) indictments in 2013, to walking on red carpets in global capitals on his new-found passion as adverse climate change poster boy.
On Monday, the ICC closed the Ruto file on crimes against humanity investigations for lack of evidence.
In his first year in office, Ruto has also played host to several Western leaders, a feat unparalelled by any other new president.
The icing on Nairobi’s enviable global diplomatic cake was King Charles III of England who paid Kenya a four-day State Visit on his first tour of a Commonwealth Nation since ascending to the throne.
Even King Charles, a renowned environmentalist, acknowledged President Ruto’s 10-year 15-billion trees planting programme was the most bold and unmatched government commitment to confronting threats to livelihoods and economies.
Even the respected Time Magazine took notice and named the Kenya President among top 100 global Climate Action champions who had demonstrated passion, commitment and initiated consequential actions to drive the climate change agenda to the global centre stage.
Ruto’s crusade on calling world attention to climate change threats on economies and livelihoods in Africa climate change has grown his stature.
In September, the government successfully hosted the Africa Climate Summit (ACS). On the heels of the ACS, President Ruto has since escalated the conversation to top level political and highest policy podiums in Germany, France, EU Parliament in Brussels and in Saudi Arabia to passionately push this agenda.
On top of the list on Ruto’s crusade is to rally rich Global North political and financial institutions to review and change the global financial models and structures to meet the mitigation needs of the adverse impact of climate change and global warming.
At the COP 28 in UAE, top on the AU agenda is to draw attention to the real existential threats on pace and security threats facing nations in the Horn of Africa, as climate change decimate agricultural and livestock-based livelihoods and escalating fierce competition for overwhelmed natural resources.
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