President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on African nations to develop and advance a common agenda as the continent prepares to host the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt in November this year.
“Africa and its member states, under the umbrella of the Africa Union and African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) must synchronise its messages and speak with one voice in all inter-related global events. We must use our collective bargaining weight to its full advantage to influence the outcome of these multilateral processes,” the President said.
President Kenyatta, who spoke during a meeting of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) on the sidelines of 2022 UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, encouraged Africa to take advantage of its hosting of COP27 to push for equity and justice in climate financing.
“As agreed in Glasgow, ambition in all fronts remains critical to solving the climate crisis. Sharm El-Sheikh must build on, and strengthen the commitments in the Glasgow Pact. But, ambition must also reflect equity, justice and the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibility and Respective Capacity (CBDR-RC) and must leave no one behind,” he said.
Once again, President Kenyatta regretted that despite Africa contributing less to global emissions, the continent suffers the most from the climate induced crises such as drought, floods and locust invasion while responsible countries “are not operating in emergency mode”.
“The on-going drought in the Horn of Africa, the cyclones in Mozambique and neighbouring southern African countries, the recent devastating floods in South Africa and a locust invasion in 2020, underscore the reality of the emergency,” the President said.
Because of their high vulnerability, President Kenyatta urged African countries to prioritise climate change adaptation interventions saying the continent risks losing between two to four percent of GDP annually by 2040.
“In this regard, we must continue pressing for recognition of special needs and circumstance of Africa as recognised in the convention.
“We cannot achieve progress without means of implementation. Adaptation only receives 25 percent of global finance, and Africa only receives three percent of this,” President Kenyatta regretted.
He said the time had come for Africa to hold to account “big emitters” by resubmitting more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by the deadline of 23rd September this year.
“The world is expecting us to build and maintain the momentum from Glasgow, and to deliver concrete results in Sharm-El-Sheikh. We must therefore work together to deliver ambitious decisions,” President Kenyatta said.
At the same time, President Kenyatta noted that the climate financing gap in many African countries is so huge that it “surpasses government budgets and available donor funding”.
“The fact that we are still struggling to reach USD 1 billion after 13 years, to say the least, is nothing but scandalous. We must change this narrative.
“Adaptation finance must be tripled. A dedicated fund for loss and damage should be put in place to support the recovery from climate emergencies.
“Building back better cannot be achieved without adequate, predictable climate finance. Funding for loss and damage must be made an emergency agenda when we get to Sharm-El-Sheikh,” he advised.
On the Kyoto Protocol, the President said the carbon market arrangement did not benefit Africa largely due to scanty foreign direct investment opportunities and lack of technical capacity to participate in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) on fair terms.
At another side event, the UN Ocean Decade Alliance meeting, President Kenyatta underscored the tremendous potential of the blue economy to uplift economies despite being under severe stress from human action
He said there was need to develop a new relationship between humanity and the ocean to enable communities to benefit more from marine resources, saying science was at the core of sustainable utilization of oceans.
“We must embrace the opportunity offered by the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development to close the knowledge and finance gap, and advance the quest for a healthy and well-managed planet,” the President said.
Separately, President Kenyatta on Monday evening held bilateral talks with President João Lourenço of Angola in Lisbon, Portugal.
At the meeting held on the sidelines of the ongoing UN Ocean Conference, the two African Heads of State discussed several subjects of mutual interest to Kenya and Angola as well as the Pan-African agenda of developing a peaceful, stable and progressive continent.
President Kenyatta commended his Angolan counterpart for midwifing the ongoing peace process in eastern DR Congo and welcomed the country’s delegation that’s set to visit Nairobi next month to align the initiative with a similar exercise led by the East African Community.