African CSOs to President Ruto:
Push for Ambitious Adaptation Commitments at Summit
Dear President Ruto,
We, representatives of CSOs across Africa, wish to commend your leadership in hosting the inaugural Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi this month. You have demonstrated strong leadership to promote Africa’s interests on the global arena, and this summit could not have come at a better time. The world is eagerly waiting for this conference, which must deliver ambitious commitments for climate adaptation and climate finance, including loss and damage. For the world to decisively respond to the climate crisis, these instruments are crucial. For decades, Mr President, despite its critical place in the discourse, climate adaptation has been sidelined in the multilateral climate agenda. Interventions in adaptation have been reactive, incremental, piecemeal and grossly insufficient.
This implementation gap, unfortunately, is widening. Time is also running out. This must change if the world hopes to cope with the global climate emergency. We implore you to set a precedent by championing a strong climate adaptation agenda at the Summit. As the Chairperson of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCS), you bear the responsibility for anchoring Africa on a new path. The ACS, under your leadership, must mark the genesis of this new journey.
Coming only months before COP28, the Nairobi summit offers a unique opportunity to develop and rally the continent behind an alternative African climate and development vision. A vision that reminds the world that Africa’s Just Transition pathways to climate adaptation and resilience is urgent.
Specifically, this summit must:
1. Place Africa’s Adaptation needs at the top of its agenda
A the summit, African leaders must unanimously take a firm position that:
Clearly articulates the urgency of Africa’s adaptation needs
Advocates for the integration of adaptation into the scope of the Just Transition Work Programme to achieve parity with mitigation
Ensures the Global Stocktake at COP28 recognises the link between adaptation and sustainable development goals
Recognises that principles of equity, justice, rights-based approaches, and social vulnerability underpin and drive Africa’s climate and development vision for a Just Transition to climate adaptation and resilience.
Prioritises Africa’s agriculture, food systems, agroecology and support for smallholder farmers as a critical adaptation interventions
Secures, protects, and advances land rights and security of tenure of farmers, pastoralists, women, Indigenous groups, and other vulnerable groups in order to enhance their resilience, sustain their livelihoods, and protect biodiversity.
2. Push for momentum on the Global Goal on Adaptation - GGA
Africa must push for more political momentum towards agreement on global science-based targets whose support has been limited so far. Africa’s leadership must collectively take a position on GGA that promotes an ambitious and effective goal that is easy to communicate, holistic, and globally applicable, while assuring the requisite means of implementation and support for the most vulnerable is one that unites Africans. The goal must also recognise the importance of ecosystems and scaled up finance in line with the temperature goal and needs of developing countries. The position must support the development of targets for priority sectors such as water, food and agriculture, sustainable cities, health, land use and biodiversity.
3. Drastic increase in Adaptation Finance
Mr President, climate impacts in Africa have and will continue to increase in frequency and intensity in the future. Addressing the adaptation financing gap, therefore, demands immediate attention.
To this end, climate finance commitments, particularly on climate adaptation made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) , the Paris Agreement and in Glasgow must be delivered urgently.
More importantly, this summit must aggressively push for the reform of the global financial architecture in a manner that places adaptation finance as the principal priority for these reforms. The overhaul must increase the scale of climate finance, boost access to the finance and recognise the need for concessional finance, notably grants.
The summit must also advocate for incentives and favourable, fit-for-purpose financing options for Africa, namely, tax waivers, debt write-offs, green credits, and other options that meet the adaptation needs of developing countries. Along with incentives, quality finance is also key. The summit must advocate for finance that is fair, does not increase debt, unbiased, flexible, locally led, and meets local needs.
The finance must flow to African institutions, including the African Adaptation Initiative and other community-led resilience building efforts. This Adaptation Finance must also be trackable and involve communities from design to implementation.
Africa requires up to $86 billion per annum by 2030 to deal with climate shocks. Heads of government at the summit must strongly call for provision of additional financial support to Africa, by identifying new sources and doubling of adaptation finance by wealthy nations.
Loss & Damage
The climate conversation is incomplete without discussion on payment for the loss and damage that Africa and other vulnerable countries have and will continue to suffer. The summit must emphasise the need for a full-spectrum approach to L&D finance to cover both economic and non-economic impacts of climate change.
Global North countries must repay colonial and climate debt to African countries in line with the principles of historical responsibility and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC).
It must also advocate for the full operationalisation and capitalisation of the new Loss and Damage Fund by providing new and additional resources that do not generate debt.
Access to this fund by frontline communities and civil society organisations is as critical as having the fund in place. The Nairobi summit must fiercely call for this.
To be truly a success, the Summit must yield concrete actions and outcomes. Africa’s civil society movement is willing to engage beyond the summit for us to realise a transformative and resilient future for Africa and the betterment of humanity and the planet.
Mr President, in your hands is a lifetime opportunity to steer the climate discourse towards a new and historic trajectory. Doing this will have Africa remember you for generations to come.
Chair, African Union (AU) Commission
Chair, African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN)
Chair, Africa Group of Negotiators (AGN)