Claudine Linda Wa Nciko
September 22, 2023
On a sunny Monday morning, I had the honor of attending a pivotal gathering of eminent world leaders, distinguished academics, and impassioned activists—the Africa Climate Summit 2023. The Summit was a 3-day affair, from September 4th to 6th, 2023. This gathering was a breakthrough event in addressing the grave challenge of climate change in the African context, laying the groundwork for the next COP28 in the United Arab Emirates.
The summit served as a beacon, illuminating the stark realities of climate change in Africa—an afflicted continent yet among the smallest contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for a mere 3.8%. However, the effects of climate change are being felt strongly in many vulnerable African nations that have been hit by floods, droughts, and storms, according to Jihad Azour (Director of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia) and Abebe Amero Selassie (Director of Africa at the IMF (International Monetary Fund). The plight of climate refugees, lacking international recognition and support, remains a poignant oversight. Disturbingly, the United Nations International Organization for Migration anticipates a staggering 25 million to 1 billion environmental migrants by 2050. As climate change compels local populations to abandon their homelands due to extreme weather events, certain regions of the world risk becoming uninhabitable.
Throughout the summit, a resounding call emphasized the pivotal roles played by youth and women in combating climate change. Harriette Chiggai CS, the president's advisor on women's rights in Kenya, eloquently highlighted the disproportionate impact climate change exerts on women and girls. The urgent need for specialized research and personalized solutions struck a chord within all of us. The fight against climate change has demonstrated that empowering women and youth is not just a moral obligation but also a strategic need.
Noteworthy within the summit were the innovative strategies highlighted, particularly by organizations such as World Vision and Oxfam. Their initiatives encompassed gender equality, climate resilience, and poverty alleviation. A striking example was World Vision's utilization of drones for tree planting, highlighting technology's potency in environmental preservation. Entrepreneurs introduced pioneering projects like bamboo farming and online carbon marketing, shedding light on the entrepreneurial spirit propelling climate action.
The summit served as a testimony to the burgeoning engagement of young minds in climate action. Youth dedication resonated through numerous international and regional youth assemblies and conferences. The revelation of abundant opportunities, ranging from collaboration with UN agencies to active involvement in local projects, inspired us to embrace a more dynamic role in climate leadership.
The Africa Climate Summit 2023 transcended the realms of a mere congregation; it emerged as a clarion call for substantial action. Implicit in its proceedings was the recognition that Africa's destiny intertwines intimately with the global climate agenda, underscoring the imperative for international collaboration. Harnessing online platforms, notably social media, to cultivate networks and advocate for climate action was emphasized. In summation, the Africa Climate Summit 2023 heralded a pivotal venue for transformation, affirming Africa's readiness to be a significant player in climate change mitigation. The path to a sustainable future rests on the pillars of cooperation, innovation, and the empowerment of women and youth. The Nairobi Declaration on Climate Change and Call to Action, supported by African Heads of State and Government, encapsulates a comprehensive blueprint for African climate action, radiating hope in the broader fight against climate change.
Join the movement: Raise your voice, share your knowledge, and take a stand against climate change. Together, we can create a sustainable future for Africa and the world. Learn more: the_african_leaders_nairobi_declaration_on_climate_change-rev-eng.pdf (afdb.org)
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