A high-level meeting in Gabon has African leaders focused on how the continent can provide solutions to the global climate crisis, with President Ali Bongo Ondimba welcoming ministers and delegates from 42 nations as well as United Nations representatives.
“In less than three months, the UN Climate Change conference will take place in Sharm el- Sheikh, Egypt. COP27 is described as Africa’s COP and will significantly shape our future,” said Bongo in his welcome address. “As one of the last major climate events before COP27, Africa Climate Week can bring us together to walk down the road to COP27 with unity of purpose and resolve for a better future.”
Much of the emphasis is on how to ensure that commitments aligning with the Paris Agreement are kept, with UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed again noting that Africa has committed least to the climate emergency yet faces drought, food insecurity, biodiversity loss and other impacts.
Ibrahim Thiaw, acting secretary of UN climate change, said that Africans account for only 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions but possess the resources needed to facilitate a clean-energy transition.
“Deploying the potential of solar, wind, hydro, geothermal energy and the recently discovered huge potential for green hydrogen may be a game changer, not only for the African continent, but for the entire planet,” said Thiaw.
Ecosystem restoration, to reverse desertification and biodiversity loss, offers economic and land use opportunities. Expanding clean energy access in the agricultural sector can help to reduce food waste, all of which benefits the international community beyond Africa.
“We need multilateral development banks and the private sector to be fully on board to mobilize the billions of dollars need for climate action, with an increasing focus on adaptation,” Thiaw said. “Public-private partnerships are key, as are ways of identifying innovative means of finance for climate change.”
Image: Gabon Presidency