Climate and Biodiversity: ABN’s Engagement at Climate Summit and Week
In a pivotal role at the Africa Climate Summit and Climate Week, ABN addressed Africa’s escalating climate vulnerability and economic consequences. These efforts underline the need for urgent climate action. Read more from this article by Dennis Mwange, the Partnership and Resource Mobilization Coordinator at the African Biodiversity Network.
The African Biodiversity Network (ABN) participated at the recent Africa Climate Summit and Africa Climate Week in Nairobi, held under the leadership of President William Ruto of Kenya. Their mission: to confront Africa’s growing vulnerability to climate change and its far-reaching economic consequences.
Running concurrently with the Africa Climate Summit, Africa Climate Week provided a platform for a diverse range of stakeholders, including policymakers, practitioners, businesses, and civil society, to engage in extensive discussions on climate solutions, challenges, and regional achievements. These events set the stage for the upcoming global stocktake at COP28 in the United Arab Emirates from November 30th to December 12th, 2023, an opportunity anticipated to instigate rapid and substantial changes in our economic and social systems to effectively combat climate change.
ABN’s presence during these events was marked by engagements in preparation of the African CSO position statement read at the summit, networking initiatives, follow up discussions on the outcomes of COP27, with a particular focus on loss and damage, a just transition, and sustainable energy. The summit and week both underscored the significance of the 6th Assessment Report (AR6) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which emphasized the urgent need for global emissions reductions. These discussions formed the foundation for aligning climate action with the preservation of biodiversity, a central theme in ABN’s participation.
The interconnectedness of climate change and biodiversity loss
The Africa’s alarming rate of warming, exceeding the global average, resulting in adverse economic, societal, and developmental impacts were key topics that ABN emphasized at the summit. These events unveiled the intricate links between climate change, biodiversity loss, and the preservation of cultural heritage.
In a historic declaration, African heads of state recognized climate change as humanity’s foremost challenge, emphasizing the urgency of global emissions reduction and reinforcing the interconnectedness between climate change mitigation and the preservation of Africa’s unique biodiversity and cultural diversity. The summit acknowledged Africa’s historical non-involvement in causing global warming but stressed the disproportionate impacts it bears. This recognition underscored the need for global solidarity and financial support to protect Africa’s natural and cultural assets.
Furthermore, these events highlighted Africa’s potential in renewable energy resources and the pivotal role of clean energy in achieving climate-positive industrial development while safeguarding biodiversity. Africa’s role as a carbon sink and its progress in ecosystem restoration were also acknowledged, highlighting the importance of protecting critical ecosystems. Also, the ocean’s role in climate action and biodiversity conservation was recognised. The heads of states called for commitment by the international communities to honour international agreements including climate financing and reduction of carbon emissions affecting both land and sea.
In a significant conclusion, these events united in a resounding call for global action: to reduce emissions, honour climate finance promises, phase down coal, and operationalize the Loss and Damage facility. These commitments align with the overarching goal of preserving Africa’s biodiversity and cultural heritage.
ABN’s active participation was instrumental in fostering discussions that led to new collaborations, innovative solutions, heightened awareness of climate initiatives, knowledge exchange, and the development of concrete action plans. Despite challenges like scheduling conflicts and language barriers, ABN effectively balanced networking with core summit sessions.
The Africa Climate Summit and Africa Climate Week emphasized the urgency of addressing climate change and biodiversity loss in parallel. ABN’s involvement and networking efforts underscored the potential of collective action in tackling pressing challenges and reinforced the ongoing need for networking to ensure a unified response to the climate crisis.