By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
Over 500 African civil society organisations have issued seven hard-hitting demands on their governments and wealthy nations as the African Climate Summit kicks off in Nairobi, Kenya, next week.
The African People are demanding 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 highlighted include: Decolonise the Economy and Development, Repay Climate Debt and Deliver the Money, No False Solutions, Build Global Solidarity, Peace and justice, No new fossil fuels, New commitments for international cooperation, End Energy Agency Capture, and Energy System Capture
To raise awareness on the challenges Africa is facing with climate change, The Real Africa People’s Climate Summit has organised a march on 4th September 2023 in Nairobi which brings together diverse stakeholders from various struggles and movements across Africa.
Speaking on behalf of the Real Africa People’s Climate Summit, Hardi Yakubu, from 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 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,” Hardi 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.
“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,” Lorraine Chiponda from the Africa Movements Building Space said.
Between 600-900 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. “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 believe 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 from Friends of Lake Turkana stated that, “On 4 September we raise our voices for truth and justice. We March for the lives of African Peoples”.
Joab Okanda from 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.
Maimoni Ubrei-Joe of Friends of the Earth Africa and Environmental Rights Action who will be joining the March in Nairobi, says this is not a time to project a smokescreen in the form of geoengineering, carbon markets and Carbon capture and sequestration CCS to shield the real solutions of leaving the oil and gas in the ground. This is time for our African leaders to take concrete people-led and centered actions towards our renewable energy future for the African people.