Road to COP28: African negotiators convene in Nairobi for climate policy talks

UN Climate Change Conference will convene from November 30 to December 12, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). [iStockphoto]

Negotiators from over 33 African countries are meeting in Nairobi to reflect on COP27 outcomes and develop a common African position on climate action pertaining to agriculture and gender for COP28.

The meeting, convened by the African Group of Negotiators Experts Support (AGNES) for the next four days aims to define policy solutions to tackle the ongoing climate crisis in Africa, which is compounding food insecurity on a continent already severely afflicted by hunger and malnutrition.

The African Group of Negotiators and other African voices have been pushing for agriculture to be formally recognised in the UNFCCC negotiation process.

This led to the establishment of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture and Food Security at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Parties agreed to establish the four-year Sharm el-Sheikh joint work on the implementation of climate action on agriculture and food security, recognising that solutions are context-specific and take into account national circumstances.

The strategy meeting will evaluate progress with a focus on deliberations on practical solutions that address the climate crisis while building on a more sustainable and resilient agricultural sector in Africa.

Ambassador Giovanna Valverde Stark, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN-Habitat and UNEP, Republic of Costa Rica, expressed her satisfaction at being among representatives of 33 African nations, noting that the majority of them are women.

She invited all parties to join in two resolutions - Nature-based Solutions and BiodiverCities and commended the delegates for their work, passion, conviction and commitment.

Kwame Ababio, an expert in Climate Change and Environmental Governance at the African Union Development Agency, raised concerns over the need to move from policies to actions.

He urged the need for better coordination and the harnessing of resources to ensure policies translate into actions on the ground.

Dr George Wamukoya, Team Lead African Group of Negotiators Experts Support, stressed the dire state the continent is in, as Africans are the least emitters, yet suffer the most.

He noted that the food insecurity challenge affecting over 200 million people indicates the pressing need for a common Pan-African voice to solve the challenges of the African people.

He called for enhanced implementation of climate action through the promotion of synergies and strengthened collaboration between partners, governments and other relevant stakeholders.

The ongoing climate crisis in Africa is compounding food insecurity on a continent already severely afflicted by hunger and malnutrition.

The prevalence of undernourishment is estimated to be 19.1 per cent or 250.3 million people, across Africa, which is higher than the rate in Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The UN predicts that Africa will be home to the highest prevalence and absolute number of undernourished people by 2030.

Agriculture, a critical industry to solve this food insecurity challenge in the continent, has been destabilized, limiting its productivity and affecting local markets, thus slowing down economic growth and heightening the risk for agricultural investments.