By Sharon Atieno
With African countries facing disproportionate burdens and risks arising from climate change-related weather events and patterns including droughts, floods and wildfires, leading to detrimental impacts on its populations, the Nairobi Declaration calls for concerted efforts to lower emissions and keep the 1.5°C limit within reach.
The second article of the Paris Agreement under sub-section 1 (a) calls for keeping global temperatures below 2°C above pre-industrial levels (the period before industrialization) and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2030, to reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.
The Declaration, endorsed by African Heads of State and Government, during the inaugural Africa Climate Summit in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi calls upon the global community to act with urgency in reducing emissions, fulfilling its obligations, keeping past promises, and supporting the continent in addressing climate change.
Specifically, it urges them to accelerate all efforts to reduce emissions to align with goals set forth in the Paris Agreement and honor the commitment to provide $100 billion in annual climate finance.
The Declaration also calls for upholding commitments to a fair and accelerated process of phasing down coal, and abolishment of all fossil fuel subsidies as well as swiftly operationalizing the Loss and Damage facility agreed at the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP27).
With Africa being home to the world’s youngest and fastest-growing workforce, coupled with massive untapped renewable energy potential, abundant natural assets and entrepreneurial spirit, the Declaration recognizes that Africa possesses both the potential and the ambition to be a vital component of the global solution to climate change.
As such, the African representatives called upon global leaders to join the continent in seizing this unprecedented opportunity to accelerate global decarbonization, while pursuing equality and shared prosperity.
They invited Development Partners from both the global south and north to align and coordinate their technical and financial resources directed toward Africa to promote sustainable utilization of Africa’s natural assets for the continent’s progression toward low carbon development, and contribute to lowering global emissions.
Additionally, the African leaders called upon the international community to contribute to increasing Africa’s renewable generation capacity from 56 GW in 2022 to at least 300 GW by 2030, both to address energy poverty and to bolster the global supply of cost-effective clean energy for industry.
They also want the energy-intensive primary processing of Africa’s raw material exports shifted to the continent, to serve as an anchor demand for renewable energy and a means of rapidly reducing global emissions.
They are further calling for access to and transfer of environmentally sound technologies, including technologies that consist of processes and innovation methods to support Africa’s green industrialisation and transition.
The Heads of State and Government also want the international community to design global and regional trade mechanisms in a manner that enables products from Africa to compete on fair and equitable terms.
Additionally, they called for collective global action to mobilise the necessary capital for both development and climate action, echoing the statement of the Paris Summit for a New Global Financing Pact that no country should ever have to choose between development aspirations and climate action.
Multilateral finance system
With the multilateral finance system emerging as one of the stumbling blocks to Africa achieving its climate action goals, the representatives called for concrete action on the proposals for its reform.
Among the recommendations to build resilience to climate shocks include better deployment of the special drawing right (SDR) liquidity mechanism and disaster suspension clauses; better leveraging of the balance sheets of multilateral development banks (MDBs) to scale up concessional finance, and addressing the inordinate disparities emerging and advanced economies cost of financing from the capital markets.
Paris Agenda for People and the Planet
The African leaders called for full implementation of the measures included in the Paris Agenda for People and the Planet. These consist MDBs capitalization and deployment reform to increase available concessional capital with these banks, channel a greater proportion of this concessional capital to emerging and frontier economies, and incentivize investment in climate-aligned opportunities.
It also involves redesigning of the MDB governance, to ensure a “fit for purpose” system with appropriate representation, voice, and agency of all countries.
Measures to improve debt management are also included. This will entail the inclusion of ‘debt pause clauses’, and the proposed expert review of the Common Framework and the Debt Sustainability Analysis.
An additional measure to be fully implemented is focused innovative solutions to address the high cost of capital in Africa, such as the partial foreign exchange (FX) guarantee for emerging and frontier economies.
Global Capital Mobilization
The African leaders call for further acceleration of global capital mobilization to simultaneously and more effectively tackle the global crises of climate change and development.
They are pushing for new debt relief interventions and instruments to pre-empt debt default – with the ability to extend sovereign debt tenor, and include a 10-year grace period.
They are calling for new universal global instruments to collect additional revenue and decisive action on the Promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations -with the aim to reduce Africa’s loss of $ 27 billion annual corporate tax revenue through profit shifting, by at least 50% by 2030 and 75% by 2050.
They are also calling for additional measures to crowd in and de-risk private capital, such as blended finance instruments, purchase commitments, industrial policy collaboration, and guarantee mechanisms, which should be informed by the risks that drive lack of private capital deployment at scale.
With regards to trade, the Heads of State and Government want trade-related environmental tariffs and non-tariff barriers to be subject to multilateral discussions and agreements and not be unilateral, arbitrary, or discriminatory environmental measures.
Thus, they call for accelerating efforts to decarbonize the transport, industrial and electricity sectors through the use of smart, digital and highly efficient technologies and systems.
They also want a reduction of the cost of capital for investment in Africa, through a mix of availing credit rating data, smart guarantee instruments and additional concessional finance to attract private capital.
Additionally, they are calling for designing industry policies that incentivize global investment to locations that offer the most and substantial climate benefits, while ensuring benefits for local communities as well as implementing a mix of measures that elevate Africa’s share of carbon markets.
Global carbon taxation
The Declaration urges world leaders to rally behind the proposal for a [global] carbon taxation regime including a carbon tax on fossil fuel trade, maritime transport and aviation, that may also be augmented by a global financial transaction tax (FTT)) to provide dedicated affordable and accessible finance for climate-positive investments at scale and ring-fencing of these resources and decision-making from geopolitical and national interests.
New financing architecture
The Heads of State and Government propose to establish a new financing architecture that is responsive to Africa’s needs including debt restructuring and relief, including the development of a new Global Climate Finance Charter through UNGA and COP processes by 2025.