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Shaping Africa’s Climate Agenda: The Multistakeholder Forum on COP28 Reflections and COP29 Strategy”

Shaping Africa's Climate Agenda: The Multistakeholder Forum on COP28 Reflections and COP29 Strategy"

The Multistakeholder Forum on COP28 Reflections and COP29 Strategy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was a pivotal gathering aimed at addressing Africa’s pressing climate challenges and setting an african climate agenda . Taking place alongside the thirty-seventh African Union Assembly, the forum served as a significant platform for uniting stakeholders to strategize on Africa’s climate response and future actions. It underscored the continent’s commitment to a unified and strategic approach towards crafting a sustainable and resilient future, thereby shaping the direction for Africa’s environmental advocacy and establishing a proactive climate agenda for COP29.

Mithika Mwenda, the executive Director of PACJA, highlighted the nuanced success and missed opportunities of the Africa Climate Summit. “While the Nairobi Declaration marked a significant step forward, it also represented a missed opportunity for African governments to solidify and amplify their collective stance on climate action. Africa, bearing minimal responsibility for the global climate crisis, faces its brunt most severely. We must move beyond this oversight by advancing a cohesive strategy, forging strong alliances, and insisting on governmental accountability for climate inaction,” Mwenda asserted.

Dr. Nassim Oulmane, from the UN Economic Commission for Africa, laid out a strategic vision for action. “The Nairobi Declaration must move from paper to practice. The operationalization of the Loss and Damage fund at COP28 is just the beginning. Africa must explore innovative financial mechanisms, including voluntary carbon markets, to combat the climate crisis effectively,” Oulmane stated.

Highlighting the economic implications of inaction, H.E. Ambassador Josefa Sacko, from the African Union Commission, argued for a proactive stance. “Inaction carries a steep price tag for African nations. As we navigate from one COP to the next, accountability and a proactive role in the global climate dialogue are non-negotiable. Adaptation and data-driven strategies must lead our efforts,” Ambassador Sacko asserted.

Anna Tjarvar, representing both the AUC and UNECA at the Embassy of Sweden in Ethiopia, criticized the slow pace of progress. “Promises of action are not enough; they must be translated into economic reality. The responsibility to act swiftly and decisively is immense,” Tjarvar said, calling for tangible economic outcomes from political commitments.

AGN Chair Arik Muvundika underscored the financial focus required for effective climate action. “COP29 must prioritize finance. The operationalization of Loss and Damage mechanisms marks a critical step, but it’s only part of the journey. Our engagements and partnerships are crucial in driving forward Africa’s climate agenda,” Muvundika highlighted.

A critical session was dedicated to setting the context and analyzing the pivotal moments of 2023, notably the Africa Climate Summit (ACS23) and COP28, paving the way for a focused dialogue on strategies for the upcoming COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Distinguished speakers including Dr. Augustine Njamnshi, Chair of Political and Technical Affairs for the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance; Mwanahamisi Singano, Advisor at the Women Environmental Development Organization; Lucky Abeng, a researcher in Climate Justice; and Dr. Cromwell Lukorito, Chair of IPCC Working Group 2, led the discussions. They delved into various aspects of climate change, global frameworks, and the specific challenges and opportunities these present to Africa.

A critical issue raised during the discussions was the integration of gender considerations into climate negotiations. Mwanahamisi Singano highlighted the often-confused attribution of gender roles within the climate change arena, pointing out that gender considerations are frequently relegated to first ladies, rather than being understood as a broader, inclusive issue. Singano criticized the gender work programme at COP28 for not adequately addressing gender needs due to the late submission of views to the UNFCCC processes. She advocated for earlier submissions to ensure these views are included in the agenda for COP29, emphasizing the need for the African Union and the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) to actively support and advance African narratives in global negotiations.

The session also spotlighted the importance of innovation and the engagement of youth in climate conversations. Lucky Abeng stressed the need for young activists to be included in innovation processes and climate solutions, underscoring the necessity of aligning knowledge with youth investment. This sentiment was echoed by both Abeng and Singano, who advocated for knowledge transfer to women activists and youth to bolster innovations and negotiations on climate change.

Dr. Cromwell Lukorito emphasized the critical role of investing in knowledge products to support the African narrative, warning against the potential migration of knowledge to Europe and America if Africa fails to leverage its vast human resources, including the youth. He advocated for training in advocacy skills to empower Africans to effectively advocate for their continent’s needs and priorities.

The panel discussions underscored the significance of capacity building, particularly among the youth, to enhance advocacy for adaptation finance. Dr. Njamnshi shared insights into the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance’s (PACJA) Youth for Adaptation Finance for Africa (YAF) initiative, which aims to equip young people with the necessary skills to become effective advocates for adaptation finance, identifying needs and championing solutions.

James Murombedzi, Chief Climate Change Coordinator for the ECA’s Africa Climate Policy Centre, called for a unified global approach to climate change from Africa. He cautioned against fragmentation in climate-related processes and advocated for the integration of climate change into broader development plans, highlighting the necessity of a cohesive and strategic approach to navigating the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change.

As the forum concluded, the collective insights and discussions underscored the urgent need for a strategic, cohesive approach to climate action in Africa. By unifying voices, demanding accountability, and championing innovative solutions, Africa aspires to assert its influence in the global climate discourse, steering towards a sustainable and resilient future. This collaborative endeavor laid a robust foundation for strategic planning and action towards COP29, heralding a new chapter in Africa’s climate advocacy and sustainable development journey.

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