Africa Climate Summit gains steam ahead of September event

 Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya during a breakfast media update on the upcoming African Climate Summit July 28, 2023. [David Gichuru, Standard]

In a bid to address the critical nexus between climate change and development, the upcoming Africa Climate Summit is set to make groundbreaking proposals aimed at tackling Africa’s debt distress and securing sufficient capital for climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.

The Summit, scheduled for September, is gaining momentum as it surpasses its delegate target, attracting interest from around the world.

Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya revealed, during a press briefing, that the state has exceeded its expectations by registering over 9,500 delegates, both locally and internationally.

Eight African Heads of States have confirmed attendance to the Summit, including United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres. 

‘‘Initially, we expected to host approximately 10,000 delegates but as of this morning, we have registered over 9,500 local and international delegates. This is a clear indication that we will surpass our anticipated target,’’ said Tuya. “This strong interest in the event underscores the global concern for the pressing climate change crisis,” Tuya said. 

She said the summit will mark a turning point in the way Africa address and engage with the rest of the world on climate change going forward. She was speaking in Nairobi at the summit’s Secretariat during a breakfast meeting to update media stakeholders on the upcoming event.

The Summit, co-hosted by Kenya and the African Union Commission, is poised to be a transformative event, with a focus on showcasing Africa’s abundant resources and opportunities to drive a green growth agenda.

Participants will be from a wide spectrum of groups, including government delegations, representatives of United Nations agencies, captains of industry, philanthropies, international and national non-state actors, nongovernmental organizations, civil society organisations among others.

“By adopting a low-carbon development pathway, Africa aims to play a vital role in fast and cost-effective global decarbonisation,” the CS said.

Pacifica Achieng, Director of Climate Change, confirmed the venue for the Summit as the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.

Achieng emphasised the inclusive nature of the event, with invitations extended to all African heads of state, heads of United Nations Agencies, investors, private sector participants, civil societies, and youth representatives.

Acknowledging the collective effort required to reduce emissions globally, Achieng stressed the importance of involving all countries, regardless of their size or income level.

Achieng revealed that the summit has set ambitious goals, including promoting investment commitments by showcasing multi-billion-dollar worth investments from across the continent.

She added: “With a budget of 26 million USD, the Summit has already mobilised 12 million USD to support its initiatives.”

The event is structured to include dedicated sessions for youth, private sector, and women, with high-level side events, presidential ministerial segments, African climate week side events, exhibitions, and private rooms for potential deals and agreements.

The pre-summit will kickstart with the proceedings, followed by the high-level opening of the ministerial segment on September 4.

The Africa Climate Summit aims to be a frontier where capital meets opportunity, facilitating the necessary resources to drive impactful climate interventions.

As the Summit approaches, the world awaits with anticipation for Africa to demonstrate its vast resources and opportunities, driving a green growth agenda through a low-carbon development pathway.

“Africa’s critical minerals, renewable energy potential, uncultivated arable land, and nature capital can play a crucial role in mitigating global warming and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Tuya said.

The summit is a critical moment for global action. The United Nations estimates that in the last two decades, we have tragically lost 1.23 million lives in 7,348 major disasters across the world.

These disasters, as revealed in the Global Disasters Report, have been predominantly caused by extreme weather and climate conditions, accounting for nearly 85 percent of all incidents in the past decade alone.

‘‘We expect the summit to chart a green growth pathway for the African continent, setting the stage for Africa to lead the globe towards a more ecologically responsible global industrialisation, catalysed by financing that is accessible, adequate, and affordable,’’ she said.