The African leaders Nairobi declaration on climate change and call to action

We, the African Heads of State and Government, gathered for the inaugural Africa Climate
Summit (ACS) in Nairobi, Kenya, from 4th to 6th September 2023; in the presence of other
global leaders, intergovernmental organizations, Regional Economic Communities, United
Nations Agencies, private sector, civil society organizations, indigenous peoples, local
communities, farmer organizations, children, youth, women and academia, hereby:

  1. Recall, the Assembly Decisions (AU/Dec.723(XXXII), AU/Dec.764 (XXXIII) and
    AU/Dec.855(XXXVI)) requesting the African Union Commission to organize an African
    Climate Summit and endorsing the offer by the Republic of Kenya to host the Summit;
  2. Commend the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate
    Change (CAHOSCC) under the Leadership of H.E. President William Ruto for providing
    a unified approach and political leadership on an African vision that simultaneously
    pursues climate change and development agenda;
  3. Commends the Arab Republic of Egypt for the successful COP27 and its historic
    outcomes, in particular loss and damage, just transition and energy, and calls for the
    full implementation of all COP27 decisions
  4. Take Note of the 6th Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on
    Climate Change (IPCC), stating that the world is not on track to keeping within reach
    the 1.5°C limit agreed in Paris and that global emissions must be cut by 45% in this
  5. Underscore the IPCC confirmation that Africa is warming faster than the rest of the
    world and, if unabated, climate change will continue to have adverse impacts on
    African economies and societies, and hamper growth and wellbeing;
  6. Express concern that many African countries face disproportionate burdens and risks
    arising from climate change-related, unpredictable weather events and patterns,
    including prolonged droughts, devastating floods, wild/forest fires, which cause massive
    humanitarian crisis with detrimental impacts on economies, health, education, peace
    and security, among other risks;
  7. Acknowledge that climate change is the single greatest challenge facing humanity and
    the single biggest threat to all life on Earth. It demands urgent and concerted action
    from all nations to lower emissions and reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases
    in the atmosphere;
  8. Recognise that Africa is not historically responsible for global warming, but bears the
    brunt of its effect, impacting lives, livelihoods, and economies;
  9. Reaffirm the principles set out in the United Nations Framework Convention on
    Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Paris Agreement, namely equity, common but
    differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities,
  10. Further recognise that African cities and urban centres are growing rapidly, and by 2050
    would be home to over 1.0 billion people. Cognisant of the fact that rapid
    urbanization, poverty, and inequality limit planning capacities and other urban
    dynamics which increase people’s exposure and vulnerability to hazards and have thus
    turned cities into disaster hotspots across the continent.
  11. Recall that only seven years remain to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of
    the 2030 Agenda, and note with concern that 600 million people in Africa still lack
    access to electricity while 970 million lack access to clean cooking;
  12. Emphasise that Africa possesses both the potential and the ambition to be a vital
    component of the global solution to climate change. It is home to the world’s youngest
    and fastest-growing workforce, coupled with massive untapped renewable energy
    potential, abundant natural assets and entrepreneurial spirit, our continent has the
    fundamentals to pioneer a climate-positive pathway as a thriving, cost-competitive
    industrial hub with the capacity to support other regions in achieving their net zero
  13. Acknowledge Africa’s role as one of the largest carbon sinks through the Congo forest
    and peatland, as well as, the potential in Africa’s savanna grasslands, mangroves,
    swamps, coral reefs and marine reserves, and note the progress made by African
    countries in promoting land and ecosystem restoration through various initiatives and
  14. Recognize the critical importance of the ocean in climate action, reversing biodiversity
    loss and the sustainable development of African and other countries globally, and
    commitments made on ocean sustainability in multiple fora such as the Second UN
    Oceans Conference in 2022, the African Union Agenda 2063 and UN Agenda 2030,
    in COPs 26 and 27 and most recently in the Moroni Declaration for Ocean and Climate
    Action in Africa
  15. Reiterate Africa’s readiness to create an enabling environment, enact policies and
    facilitate investments necessary to unlock resources to not only meet our own climate
    commitments, but to contribute meaningfully to decarbonisation of the global
  16. Concerned that despite Africa having an estimated 40 percent of the world’s renewable
    energy resources, only $60 billion or two percent of US$3trillion renewable energy
    investments in the last decade have come to Africa. Meeting the 300 Giga Watts (GW)
    target by 2030 at an estimated cost of $600 billion translates to a tenfold increase in
    the finance capital flowing into Africa’s renewable energy sector over the next seven
    years. Unlocking Africa’s climate positive growth potential on a scale that can
    contribute meaningfully to decarbonisation of the global economy will require several
    multiples of the current development and investment finance flows
    Collective action needed.
  17. We call upon the global community to act with urgency in reducing emissions, fulfilling
    its obligations, keeping past promises, and supporting the continent in addressing
    climate change, specifically to:
  18. Accelerate all efforts to reduce emissions to align with goals set forth in the Paris
  19. Honor the commitment to provide $100 billion in annual climate finance, as
    promised 14 years ago at the Copenhagen conference.
  20. Uphold commitments to a fair and accelerated process of phasing down coal,
    and abolishment of all fossil fuel subsidies.
  21. Swiftly operationalize the Loss and Damage facility agreed at COP27;
  22. We call for climate-positive investments that catalyse a growth trajectory, anchored in
    the industries poised to transform our planet and enabling African countries to achieve
    stable middle-income status by 2050.
  23. We urge global leaders to join us in seizing this unprecedented opportunity to
    accelerate global decarbonization, while pursuing equality and shared prosperity;20.Urges the operationalization of the Loss & Damage fund as agreed at COP27 and
    resolve for a measurable Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) with indicators and targets
    to access progress against negative impacts of climate change

We commit to:

  1. Developing and implementing policies, regulations and incentives aimed at attracting
    local, regional and global investment in green growth and inclusive economies;
  2. Propelling Africa’s economic growth and job creation in a manner that not only limits
    our own emissions but also aids global decarbonization efforts, by leapfrogging
    traditional industrial development and fostering green production and supply chains
    on a global scale;
  3. Focusing our economic development plans on climate-positive growth, including
    expansion of just energy transitions and renewable energy generation for industrial
    activity, climate-aware and restorative agricultural practices, and essential protection
    and enhancement of nature and biodiversity;
  4. Strengthen actions to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, deforestation, desertification,
    as well to restore degraded lands to achieve land degradation neutrality;
  5. Strengthening continental collaboration, which is essential to enabling and advancing
    green growth, including but not limited to regional and continental grid
    interconnectivity, and further accelerating the operationalization of the Africa
    Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement;
  6. Advancing green industrialization across the Continent by prioritizing energy-intense
    industries to trigger a virtuous cycle of renewable energy deployment and economic
    activity, with a special emphasis on adding value to Africa’s natural endowments;
  7. Redoubling our efforts to boost agricultural yields through sustainable agricultural
    practices, to enhance food security while minimizing negative environmental impacts;
  8. Taking the lead in the development of global standards, metrics, and market
    mechanisms to accurately value and compensate for the protection of nature,
    biodiversity, socio-economic co-benefits, and the provision of climate services;
  9. Finalising and implementing the draft African Union Biodiversity Strategy and Action
    Plan, with the view to realizing the 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature;
  10. Integrate climate, biodiversity and ocean agendas and instruments at national plans and
    processes to assure their full potential to support sustainable development is realized
    and support nature-based ocean solutions for climate, livelihoods and sustainability
    objectives, that support and increase the resilience of local communities, coastal areas
    and national economies;
  11. Supporting smallholder farmers, indigenous peoples, and local communities in the
    green economic transition given their key role in ecosystems stewardship;
  12. Identify, prioritize and mainstream adaptation into development policy-making and
    planning, including in the context of national plans and Nationally Determined
    Contributions (NDCs);
  13. Building effective partnership between Africa and other regions, to meet the needs for
    financial, technical and technological support, and knowledge sharing for climate
    change adaptation;
  14. Promoting investments in urban infrastructure including through upgrading informal
    settlements and slum areas to build climate resilient cities and urban centres.
  15. Strengthening early warning systems and climate information services, as well as taking
    early action to protect lives, livelihoods and assets and inform long-term decision making related to climate change risks. We emphasise the importance of embracing
    indigenous knowledge and citizen science in both adaptation strategies and early
    warning systems;
  16. Accelerating implementation of the African Union Climate Change and Resilient
    Development Strategy and Action Plan (2022-2032)

More is needed.

37.We call for collective global action to mobilise the necessary capital for both
development and climate action, echoing the statement of the Paris Summit for a New
Global Financing Pact that no country should ever have to choose between
development aspirations and climate action. To achieve the necessary levels of urgency,
scale, and inclusivity, we consider the following elements to be indispensable;

38.We call for concrete action on the proposals to reform the multilateral financial system
currently under discussion specifically to (a) build resilience to climate shocks, including
better deployment of the SDR liquidity mechanism and disaster suspension clauses;
better leveraging of the balance sheets of MDBs to scale up concessional finance, and
addressing the inordinate disparities emerging and advanced economies cost of
financing from the capital markets

39.Full implementation of the measures included in the Paris Agenda for People and the
Planet – including:
i. Multilateral Development Banks (MDB) capitalization and
deployment reform, to (1) increase available concessional capital with
MDBs, (2) channel a greater proportion of this concessional capital to
emerging and frontier economies, and (3) incentivize investment in
climate-aligned opportunities
ii. Redesign of the MDB governance, to ensure a “fit for purpose” system
with appropriate representation, voice, and agency of all countries
iii. Measures to improve debt management, including:
a) the inclusion of ‘debt pause clauses’, and
b) the proposed expert review of the Common Framework and
the Debt Sustainability Analysis
iv. Focused innovative solutions to address the high cost of capital in
Africa, such as the partial foreign exchange (FX) guarantee for emerging and frontier economies;

  1. Further acceleration of global capital mobilization to simultaneously and more
    effectively tackle the global crises of climate change and development:
    i. New debt relief interventions and instruments to pre-empt debt default – with the ability to
    a) extend sovereign debt tenor, and
    b) include a 10-year grace period
    ii. New universal global instruments to collect additional revenue
    iii. Decisive action on the Promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations (Resolution A/C.2/77/L.11/REV.1)– with the aim to reduce Africa’s loss of $ 27
    billion annual corporate tax revenue through profit shifting, by at least 50% by 2030 and 75% by 2050
    iv. Additional measures to crowd in and de-risk private capital, such as blended finance instruments, purchase commitments, industrial policy collaboration, and guarantee mechanisms, which should be informed by the risks that drive lack of private capital deployment at scale;
  2. To accomplish this vision of economic transformation in harmony with our climate needs, we call upon the international community to contribute to the following:
    i. Increasing Africa’s renewable generation capacity from 56 GW in 2022 to at least 300 GW by 2030, both to address energy poverty and to bolster the global supply of cost-effective clean energy for
    ii. Shifting the energy intensive primary processing of Africa’s raw material exports to the continent, also to serve as an anchor demand for our renewable energy and a means of rapidly reducing global

    iii. Call for access to and transfer of environmentally sound technologies, including technologies that consist of processes and innovation methods to support Africa’s green industrialisation and transition.
    iv. Designing global and regional trade mechanisms in a manner that enables products from Africa to compete on fair and equitable terms;
  3. Call that trade-related environmental tariffs and non-tariff barriers must be subject to multilateral discussions and agreements and not be unilateral, arbitrary or discriminatory environment measures;
    i. Accelerating efforts to decarbonize the transport, industrial and electricity sectors through the use of smart, digital and highly efficient technologies and systems.
    ii. Reducing the cost of capital for investment in Africa, through a mix of availing credit rating data, smart guarantee instruments and additional concessional finance to attract private capital;
    iii. Designing industry policies that incentivize global investment to locations that offer the most and substantial climate benefits, while ensuring benefits for local communities;
    iv. Implementing a mix of measures that elevate Africa share of carbon markets.
    We, therefore
  4. Call upon world leaders to appreciate that decarbonizing the global economy is
    also an opportunity to contribute to equality and shared prosperity;
  5. Invite Development Partners from both the global south and north to align and
    coordinate their technical and financial resources directed toward Africa to promote
    sustainable utilization of Africa’s natural assets for the continent’s progression
    toward low carbon development, and contributing to global decarbonization;
  6. Call acceleration of the on-going initiatives to reform the multilateral financial
    system and global financial architecture including the Bridgetown Initiative, the
    Accra-Marrakech Agenda, the UN Secretary General’s SDG Stimulus Proposal and
    the Paris Summit for a New Global Financing Pact;
  7. Urge the efforts to refine the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatments, but
    remain concerned that these efforts lack both adequacy and timeliness;
  8. Call for a comprehensive and systemic response to the incipient debt crisis outside
    of default frameworks to create the fiscal space that all developing countries’ need
    to finance development and climate action;
  9. We note that multilateral finance reform is necessary but not sufficient to provide
    the scale of climate financing the world needs to achieve 45 percent emission
    reduction required to meet the Paris 2030 agreements, without which keeping
    global warming to 1.5% will be in serious jeopardy. Additionally, that the scale of
    financing required to unlock Africa’s climate positive growth is beyond the
    borrowing capacity of national balance sheets, or at the risk premium that Africa is
    currently paying for private capital
  10. We urge world leaders to rally behind the proposal for a [global] carbon taxation
    regime including a carbon tax on fossil fuel trade, maritime transport and aviation,
    that may also be augmented by a global financial transaction tax (FTT)) to provide
    dedicated affordable and accessible finance for climate positive investments at scale
    and ringfencing of these resources and decision making from geopolitical and
    national interests.
  11. Propose to establish a new financing architecture that is responsive to Africa’s needs
    including debt restructuring and relief, including the development of a new Global
    Climate Finance Charter through UNGA and COP processes by 2025;
  12. Decide to establish the Africa Climate Summit as a biennial event convened by
    African Union and hosted by AU Member States, to set the continent’s new vision
    taking into consideration emerging global climate and development issues;
  13. Decide also that this Declaration will serve as a basis for Africa’s common position
    in the global climate change process to COP 28 and beyond;
  14. Request African Union Commission to develop an implementation framework and
    roadmap for this Declaration and to make Climate Change an AU theme for the
    Year 2025 or 2026.
    ADOPTED by African Heads of State and Government in the presence of global leaders
    and high-level representatives on 6 September 2023 in Nairobi Kenya

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