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Inside Nairobi Declaration that sets ambitious targets for green growth

President William Ruto appends his signature during the launch of the Green Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap for Kenya during the Africa Climate Summit at the KICC. [Silas Otieno, Standard]

African heads of state and government, in the presence of global leaders and high-level representatives, will Wednesday adopt a declaration that will chart a path for 1.2 billion people on the continent.

President William Ruto has expressed confidence that the Nairobi Declaration holds the potential to steer Africa towards a path of radical affirmative action in addressing the pressing issue of climate change.

“It is a declaration that seeks to provide the backbone for Africa and the world economy that is decarbonised, sustainable, and resilient,” Ruto said. Adding: “We will be putting together the Nairobi Declaration that is going to be candid, bold and practical for us to carry that conversation into the UN General Assembly and into the CoP28.”

As the summit comes to a close it is anticipated that the heads of state will sign a 28-point declaration on “An African Vision for Green, Climate-Positive Economic Growth”.

A comprehensive document being developed outlines a sweeping plan to combat climate change and accelerate sustainable development across the continent.

The declaration

The Nairobi Declaration, expected to be a landmark accord, will comprise a set of measures and commitments aimed at tackling the urgent climate crisis that has severely impacted African nations.

It will highlight the continent’s determination to address climate change while promoting inclusive and sustainable growth, sources told The Standard.

The Nairobi Declaration will call on the global community to act swiftly to reduce emissions and fulfill previous commitments.

African leaders have demanded the acceleration of efforts to meet individual countries’ climate targets, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and for the fulfilment of the long-standing $100 billion annual climate finance commitment made at COP15 in Copenhagen.

The declaration is set to emphasise the commitment to phase down coal use and eliminate fossil fuel subsidies.

Echoing the voices of African nations, it is set to call upon the global community to act with urgency to reduce emissions and fulfil long-standing climate promises.

The African nations in the summit have underlined commitment to reducing coal usage and work towards abolishing fossil fuel subsidies, emphasising the need to transition to cleaner energy sources.

However, at the heart of this collective commitment lies a profound acknowledgement of the climate crisis as the paramount concern.

Despite Africa contributing less than 4 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the continent bears a disproportionate burden of the climate crisis.

Africans, with per capita emissions as low as 0.7 tonnes of CO2 per year, starkly contrast with the world average of 4.5 tonnes. This imbalance underscores the urgent need for action.

The leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to remain active members of the international community, pledging to pursue equitable and transformative low-emission, climate-resilient development pathways as they underscore that effective emission reduction requires a collaborative global approach.

Furthermore, the Nairobi declaration is set to be a renewal of a commitment to allocate 0.7 per cent of each country’s Gross National Income (GNI) to official development assistance, funding planned to address crucial areas such as healthcare, education, hunger alleviation and gender equality.

Yesterday, African leaders spoke on the importance of operationalising the Loss and Damage facility agreed upon at COP27 to address the climate-induced suffering that has beset vulnerable communities.

A significant focus of the declaration will be Climate-Positive Green Growth, which serves as a beacon for the continent’s economic aspirations. This vision seeks to propel economic growth and job creation while simultaneously reducing emissions and the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Recognising Africa’s unique position to drive global decarbonisation, the declaration seeks a shift from traditional industrial development in favour of environmentally conscious alternatives. 

The declaration casts Africa as a leader in developing global standards, metrics and market mechanisms that correctly value and compensate for nature protection, biodiversity, socio-economic co-benefits and climate services.

In a bid to harness the continent’s immense renewable energy potential and alleviate energy poverty, African leaders will call on the international community to increase investments in renewable energy from less than one per cent to over 10 per cent annually.

The African leaders will also advocate for shifting energy-intensive primary processing of raw material exports to Africa to expedite global emissions reduction.

The declaration emphasises the importance of designing equitable global trade mechanisms, including the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, to enable low-embedded emissions products from Africa to compete fairly on the international stage.

Africa aims to substantially increase its carbon credit generation capacity, from the current 2 per cent to 40 per cent by 2030.

This endeavour includes championing the use of ‘mixed portfolios’ for buyers in Voluntary Carbon Markets, trading African carbon credits in global compliance markets, and ensuring socio-economic benefits for carbon credit projects.

To unlock funding and investment, the declaration calls for a 33 per cent reduction in the cost of capital for investments in Africa by 2025, achieved through additional concessional finance blended with private capital. It also advocates for policies that incentivise global investment in locations that offer rapid climate returns.

The declaration also underscores the importance of pricing emissions from agriculture and livestock in developed markets, aiming to make regenerative agriculture financially attractive and create a market for millions of Africa’s smallholder farms.

To address urbanisation challenges, the declaration seeks support for the electrification of 30 per cent of urban mass transit in African cities by 2030.

Amidst these commitments, African leaders call on the world to recognise the continent’s potential as a significant contributor to global decarbonisation efforts. With its youthful workforce, abundant land and natural resources, and vast renewable energy potential, Africa is poised to play a vital role in the transition to a sustainable future.

In addition to climate commitments, the declaration acknowledges ongoing financial reforms, the importance of preserving a focus on development, and the complementary role of these initiatives in the context of international climate commitments.

It highlights the urgency to rechannel Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to fund global goods, including climate action, with the African Development Bank as a viable technical solution.

The declaration emphasises that the lack of liquidity poses a significant barrier to climate action and calls for an urgent overhaul of the G20 Common Framework. It will also seek an update of the IMF and World Bank Debt Sustainability Analysis to align with climate and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The declaration recognises the confluence of crises the world is grappling with. From the financial woes to the insecurities in food and fuel supply arising from the Russia-Ukraine conflict among other global pressures.

 

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