On 4-6 September, Nairobi, Kenya played host to the first-ever Africa Climate Summit, which concluded with the release of the African Leaders Nairobi Declaration on Climate Change and Call to Action. We had a team of delegates from all over Africa attend the event throughout the week to represent the voice of civil society.
The Declaration has garnered mixed reactions from climate activists, with some applauding African leadership’s commitment to scaling up renewable energy, while others voiced concerns over what they see as insufficient actions and the persistence of fossil fuel projects on the continent. In this blog post, we’ll explore the key takeaways from the summit and examine the diverse perspectives shared by climate activists.
The African Leaders Nairobi Declaration: A Step in the Right Direction
One of the notable achievements of the Africa Climate Summit was the African Leaders Nairobi Declaration. This declaration outlined several commitments, including a promise to focus on green industrialisation and the expansion of renewable energy capacity. African leaders also called for international support to help boost Africa’s renewable energy capacity to 300 GW by 2030. These commitments were generally welcomed by climate activists as a positive step forward in addressing the urgent climate crisis.
Support for Renewable Energy and the Just Transition
Climate activists commended African leaders for their efforts to increase renewable energy capacity on the continent. They acknowledged the importance of renewable energy in not only addressing Africa’s energy needs but also mitigating the impacts of climate change. Additionally, the call for additional financial and technological support by African governments received support from activists, emphasising the importance of international collaboration in achieving sustainable energy goals.
Concerns Over False Solutions and Fossil Fuel Push
While the summit provided a platform for discussions on climate action, some activists expressed concerns about the promotion of what they deemed “false solutions” and the persistence of fossil fuel projects. Leaders from countries like Senegal and representatives of institutions like the AfDB were criticized for advocating for fossil gas. Activists stressed the urgency of a just energy transition away from fossil fuels to avert the worst effects of the climate crisis. One of the critical concerns raised by climate activists was the lack of emphasis on halting the development of new fossil fuels on the continent. Projects like the East African Crude Oil Pipeline were highlighted as contributors to environmental insecurity and inequality. Activists argued that the interests of civil society organizations, community-based organizations, trade unions, and youth organizations should have a more prominent role in shaping climate policy.
The #AfricanClimateSummit kicks off in Nairobi, Kenya, today 🇰🇪🌱350Africa stands united with activists from the African Climate Movement, urging African leaders to break free from #FossilFuel dependency in Africa and pave the way for a renewable energy future. #ACS23 #AfrikaVuka pic.twitter.com/rQ2qVOykdd
— 350 Africa (@350Africa) September 4, 2023
The diverse perspectives shared by climate activists at the Africa Climate Summit reflect the complex and urgent nature of the climate crisis. While there is appreciation for the progress made in renewable energy commitments, there is also a clear call for more significant action and a just transition away from fossil fuels. The summit serves as a reminder that addressing climate change requires not only political will but also the active engagement of all stakeholders.
Join the “Power Up” Movement for a Sustainable Future
We believe that as fossil fuel companies continue to amass outrageous billion-dollar profits, it’s time to rise up and make our voices heard. We have the power to shape a world fuelled by clean, fair, and renewable energy, and we’re not waiting any longer. Therefore on 3-4 November, people all around the world are taking action to prove that a renewable energy revolution is not just a dream—it’s within our grasp. Together, we’ll expose the insatiable greed of the oil industry and redirect those resources towards a just and sustainable future, where the sun and wind power our lives. We are fueled by outrage, but driven by hope. Our anger and hope are catalysts for change, and we’re determined to build a better future for ourselves and generations to come. This is our chance to resist and create a world where renewable energy reigns supreme.
Visit globalpowerup.org to get involved, stay informed, and be part of the wave of change. Together, we can Power Up this movement and transform the world for the better #PowerUpMovement.
Anna Amar, 350Africa.org Francophone Communications Coordinator