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Africa Climate Week rounds up with momentum for climate action ahead COP27

The 2022 Africa Climate Week (ACW) in Libreville, Gabon, wrapped up on Friday, September 2, with the premise that it helped build important regional momentum in the fight against climate change ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 in Egypt in November.

Africa Climate Week
Delegates at the 2022 Africa Climate Week

The event brought together more than 2,300 participants from governments, multilateral organisations, the private sector and civil society in person, with many more joining the over 200 individual sessions virtually.

The meeting explored two key themes that are critical for Africa and indeed the world – striving for a global average temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius and attaining a resilient future.

The opening session featured a ministerial dialogue on the challenges of mobilising and accessing climate finance at scale to spur the implementation of countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and priority national climate plans and strategies.

According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), Africa will need as much as $1.6 trillion between 2020-2030 to implement its climate action commitments and NDCs.

Lee White, Gabon’s Minister of Water, Forests, the Sea, and Environment, said: “Here in Libreville, we have truly seen the powerful potential of regional collaboration to create credible and durable responses to climate change. As we head towards COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in just a few weeks’ time, regional collaboration needs to be stronger than ever. COP27 must be the implementation COP, where we show how the Paris Agreement will be achieved through policies and programmes, through innovation and transformation.”

Egypt’s Foreign Minister and COP27 President-Designate, Sameh Shoukry, said: “The discussions at Africa Climate Week have reiterated the need to further accelerate climate action on all fronts, namely in adaptation, loss and damage, climate finance, and adopting more ambitious mitigation measures to keep the 1.5-degree target within reach. The geopolitical realities and energy crisis confronting the world have opened the door for backtracking on climate commitments and we must do everything to ensure this does not happen.

“COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh will strive to continue the vital dialogue needed to move from ambition to action.  Working with all parties to deliver implementation that will see a just and managed transition to a new and sustainable economic model to save lives and livelihoods.”

UN Climate Change Deputy Executive Secretary, Ovais Sarmad, said: “Science tells us if we continue business as usual, global average temperature will rise on average more than 3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. COP26 in Glasgow achieved the most significant progress since the Paris Agreement. Governments left with the clarity needed to reach the 1.5-degree goal. Now, our collective work moves to a new phase – implementation of the Paris Agreement at the national level. Implementation must be the focus as we take steps on the road to COP27.”

The COP27 and COP26 Climate Champions, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin and Nigel Topping, said: “As the final Regional Climate Week of 2022 concludes in Gabon, and we begin the countdown to COP27, we move forward with ambition, determination and hope. The global community must work together to solve the climate crisis – and Africa is a key element to this solution. Africa contributed the least to global greenhouse gas emissions yet faces disproportionately greater exposure to the risks of climate change. Africa must combat climate change within a more comprehensive agenda for sustainable development.

“It is not realistic to have climate action without considering the full context of the sustainable development agenda, poverty, hunger, employment and women empowerment. Mobilisation of climate finance in Africa is crucial to create real progress in Africa.”

On the conclusion of African Climate Week 2022, Gabon’s Environment Minister, Lee White, presented a letter to the COP27 Presidency. The letter puts a spotlight on the need for regional collaboration, for innovation and for support for climate action. And it calls on the COP President to share the outcomes of Africa Climate Week 2022 with the world to guide implementation of the Paris Agreement. 

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