‘Africa Climate Summit signals continent’s leadership in climate action’

Special Representative of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy For All (SEforALL), Damilola Ogunbiyi, says the Africa Climate Summit (ACS) is a significant milestone in advancing climate solutions.

Speaking during a recent interview with CNN in Nairobi, Kenya,Ogunbiyi highlighted the summit’s success in shifting Africa’s focus towards proactive problem-solving in the face of climate change, rather than remaining solely as victims of its consequences.

“The summit was a great success. For the first time we had almost 19 heads of states in Africa coming together to explain the fact that they want to lead in climate action. I think this is one of the first times,” Ogunbiyi said.

“We had over 60 ministers saying that ‘we want to grow our economy in the green sustainable way’, so the narrative has changed from Africa being a victim in climate change, which it is.

“But Africa being the leader in climate action, in green manufacturing, and asking for the global audience to come on this charge with Africa and have Africa being a solution provider.”

The UN official noted that many African countries have limited climate budgets stretched thin by debt servicing, and called on richer nations to provide affordable and accessible financing to mitigate the problem.

Ogunbiyi said it is important that richer countries lead the financing because they are the highest polluters and should pay for their actions.

“This isn’t only a climate issue, it’s a development issue and we have to develop in a green, sustainable way,” she said.

“We do not want to develop like the global north, we do not want to develop on fossil fuels, we want jobs for our young people but we need the whole global architecture to support us in doing this.

“It’s really important that the nations that pollute do pay for it and it’s very paramount that you also need this financing to finance climate friendly solutions.

“So I don’t think anyone should be left off polluting.

“We all have our 1.5 degree target but if you continuously pollute, then the G20 countries should be held to account.”

The inaugural ACS, championed by Kenya President William Ruto, aimed to address the increasing exposure to climate change and its associated costs, globally and particularly in Africa.

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