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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Ahead Africa Climate Summit, non-state actors list demands, draw redline

Hundreds of African non-state actors, represented by the Africa Climate Summit – Non-State Actors Steering Committee (ACS-NSA), have placed heightened demands and redlines as the continent prepares for the special Africa Climate Summit to convene in Nairobi, Kenya, in September 2023.

Non-State Actors
Dr. Mithika Mwenda, Executive Director of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) (middle)

The ACS-NSA is a platform that strives for the advancement of a pro-African agenda in all key climate spaces.

The summit takes place at a time it appears that the developed world presents no signs to address the adverse impacts caused by climate change, for which they are the main contributors.

The summit takes place while mild signs show non-significant progress of inclusive solutions to the climate crisis and consider Africa as the last or less important solutions provider at the same table of global climate crisis solutions.

Non-state actors take note that underestimating the role of the continent and suppressing her voice and aspirations make the move stunt and lead to the human rights puzzle towards the betterment of Africans and the next generations.

“With all these foggy moves by mighty global spheres that have not yielded a promising solution for Africa, we demand that all debates and decisions at the African Climate Summit respect and fulfill the human rights of all people, especially, those left vulnerable and marginalised by the effects of Climate Change such as indigenous people, women, children persons with disabilities and poor communities,” said Dr. Mithika Mwenda, Executive Director of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), which is supporting the ACS-NSA secretariat.

The previous sessions and processes were characterised by externally made thoughts and solutions for Africa and Africans while the continent deems to be a continent of potential and solutions, opined the non-state actors, even as they explored the slow or lack of African commitment to find solutions and firm the position.

Calling on Africa’s leaders to shift goal posts toward the contextually Africanised perspectives and aspirations, they requested to focus on major issues during the summit as brought on board by Waituru Mwangi, representing VSO/Kenya.

“Africa is most hit by climate change. Women, children, and farmers are affected, and you know they have a special relationship with the environment. As we remain with a few days to ACS we need the government and AU to open the space for non-state actors. We want to see processes where all countries can participate for not to waste money and time. In this summit, we need to focus on Climate Justice, children, women, and Farmers instead of talking about corporates. If we do not focus on these, we lose It,” urged Mwangi.

The process of the Africa Climate Summit has been criticised by some clusters who say that they should have been involved so that their views are incorporated into discussions during the summit.

“The indigenous community has been sidelined in the process of the African Climate Summit, yet we are the most affected, especially indigenous women, indigenous children. We shouldn’t be left out because we know our issues better than any other cluster and can articulate them well when we are involved. We demand the Government of Kenya to include us,” said Eunice Parsitau, Programme Manager, Mainyoito Pastoralists Integrated Development Organisation (MPIDO), a Kenya-based indigenous organisation.

Parsitau urged African leaders to cast-off anti-African proposals that increase climate risks for Africa and transfer undue burdens of addressing the climate crisis to African countries and people already suffering the adverse impacts of the debts, global inequality in the distribution of wealth, and other problems.

The summit will discuss driving green growth and climate finance solutions for Africa and the world. However, the finance question is still fuzzy as no tensible direction taken. Dr. Lesmore Ezekiel, the Director of Programmes at the Africa Conference of Churches, questioned why discussions have been diverted to the carbon market as an urgent matter and tasked African leaders to readdress the issue in their discussions during the summit and beyond.

“When we talk about climate change, we mean that it is a matter of life and death. When it comes to us as a religious and faith-based organisation, and seeing these unclear processes we ask ourselves why we are not talking about Loss and Damage. Why aren’t we talking about the Adaptation Fund? Instead, we advance conversations in Carbon Market! We must reject this, and African leaders must take this as a matter of importance,” stated Dr. Lesmore.

The Republic of Kenya is the host of the summit holding from September 3 to 6, 2023. The president of the Republic of Kenya is the chair of the African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change Committee (CAHOSCC) which was established in 2009 during the 13th ordinary sessions of the African Union Assembly.

In collaboration with the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) and the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN), CAHOSCC works to advance the Africa Common Position on Climate Change at global fora and negotiations on climate change.

Organised into clusters, the ACS-NSA draws its members from regional CSOs, Indigenous People, Faith Actors, Trade Unions, African Private Sector, Farmer Organisations, Women and Gender Constituencies, Academia and Research Institutions, Foundations and Finance Institutions, organisations working on Conservation and Nature Based Solutions, and Youth Organisations.

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