By Edu Abade
Over 500 African civil society organisations have issued seven hard-hitting demands on their governments and wealthy nations as the African Climate Summit begins in Nairobi, Kenya, next week.
Africans are demanding for justice, decolonisation of the continent’s economic systems and repayment of climate debt. They are also demanding an end to energy capture, an immediate stop to fossil fuel projects and rejection of false solutions in a move that is set to put the plight of over 900 million people in the global spotlight.
The seven demands include: Decolonising the economy and development; repaying climate debt and delivering the money; no false solutions; building global solidarity, peace and justice; no new fossil fuels, new commitments for international cooperation, as well as ending energy agency and energy systems capture.
To raise awareness on the challenges Africa is facing with climate change, The Real Africa People’s Climate Summit is organizing a rally on Monday, September 4, 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya which is bringing together diverse stakeholders from various struggles and movements across the continent.
Speaking on behalf of the Real Africa People’s Climate Summit, Hardi Yakubu of Africans Rising stated that Africans were tired of leaders and governments paying endless lip service to Africa on the impact of climate change on its people.
“We demand for a decolonisation of Africa’s economy and development agenda, a repayment of climate debt and delivery of much-needed money to Africa for Climate Adaptation and losses and damages, as well as real solutions to this gripping problem the continent faces,” Yakubu said.
Statistics show that Africa has been thrust into a never-ending cycle of poverty, hunger, undue exposure to climate-induced disasters, and ever-dwindling investment in adaptation and mitigation measures due to climate change.
Lorraine Chiponda of the Africa Movements Building Space said: “It is a serious indictment on world leaders and corporations that African people continue to disproportionately experience the devastating impacts of climate change for no fault of their own.”
Between 600 and 900 million people are facing systemic food and water shortages, debilitating poverty, and lack of access to energy or clean energy, forcing them to escape from their homes and migrate from their countries due to climate change.
Non-African led solutions to tackling climate change halfway through the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – and 10 years since the launch of Africa’s development blueprint – Agenda 2063 – have sparked major concerns among climate stakeholders on the continent.
“Further, climate induced disasters are increasing both the cost of borrowing and exacerbating the risk of debt crises. Most countries have no option other than borrowing to deal with the recovery and reconstruction costs whenever disasters hit.”
Dean Bhebhe from the Don’t Gas Africa Campaign noted that public services such as education and healthcare are chronically underfunded as unsustainable debt drives austerity, adding:
“Unsustainable debt levels that many countries face today also mean less fiscal space and to invest in adaptation and
mitigation as well as address losses and damages already being experienced.”
By putting African people in the driving seat of the climate and development action agenda, the Real Africa People’s Climate Summit believes this is an opportunity to centre people’s voices, needs, well-being and the earth’s welfare in the climate change action and development discourse.
Ikal Angelei of Friends of Lake Turkana stated that, “on September 4, we raise our voices for truth and justice. We March for the lives of African peoples”.
On his part, Joab Okanda of Christian Aid stated: “Amid the spin and rhetoric on offer this week at the Africa Climate Summit, there is no escaping the hard reality: climate change is tearing us all apart and real solutions lie with communities on the frontline of the climate crisis. Clearly, African clear leaders face a clear choice.”
Also speaking, Maimoni Ubrei-Joe of the Environmental Rights Action and Friends of the Earth Africa, who will be joining the March in Nairobi, said: “This is not a time to project a smokescreen in the form of geo-engineering, carbon markets, carbon capture and sequestration CCS to shield the real solutions of leaving the oil and gas in the ground.
“This is the time for our African leaders to take concrete, people-led and centered actions towards our renewable energy future for the African people.
“They can stay on the path of dangerous destructions advanced by corporate organisations and western consultancies, where structural traps continue to be laid against Africa’s development. Or they can choose the path of the people marching on the streets of Nairobi for a renewed climate and development vision for African people’s dignity.
“Africa is ready to rise but only once government leaders have the courage to stop the capture by the fossil fuel industry and foreign interests of our government agencies, processes and energy systems to serve their interest and not the interests of Africans.”
The Real Africa People’s Climate Summit is a key part for the upcoming wave of global mobilisations and will include the march to #EndFossilFuels fast, fast, forever in New York City on September 17, 2023 as world leaders attend the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Ambition Summit.