Experts set agenda for African leaders ahead of COP28 in Dubai

Climate Change illustration 


A week before the COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai, a Nairobi-based think tank, Power Shift Africa, has published a report titled Africa’s Agenda for COP28.

The report comes after President William Ruto hosted the African Climate Summit in September in Nairobi that adopted Nairobi's declaration calling for a global tax on fossil fuel.

The report issues a compelling call for decisive and unprecedented actions at COP28 to combat the escalating climate crisis.

“As COP28 approaches, the big question is; will this summit step up and provide an unprecedented response to the global climate crisis?” says the report.

The report urges a strong response at COP28 to address the unique challenges of the current climate emergency, by focusing on six key areas.

They include the loss and damage funds and the report places urgent emphasis on the finalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund, advocating for robust financial and technical institutional arrangements.

“This fund is not merely a financial instrument but a lifeline for vulnerable communities disproportionately impacted by climate-induced disasters,” said the report.

The founder and Executive Director of Power Shift Africa, Mohamed Adow said: “ It has never been more vital for African nations to work together and unite our collective voice at the COP28 climate summit.  Africa is on the front line of the climate crisis and many of the impacts afflict us all, whilst the solutions are common across the continent.”

Climate finance

He continued: “ We need to see our leaders working to ensure rich countries deliver on their promise of climate finance to help Africans adapt to climate change and compensate the most vulnerable who have suffered losses and damages.

The report calls for a well-defined mandate for the Just Transition Work Programme that echoes the principles of justice and inclusivity and aims to support Africa and other developing nations in transitioning to low-carbon economies while addressing the economic and social dimensions of climate action and ensuring no one is left behind.

Ms Lorraine Chiponda, coordinator, of Africa Climate Movement-of-Movements Africa said Africa has the potential to lead the world in renewable energy.

“Boasting more wind, solar, and geothermal resources than any other region, Africa is uniquely positioned, and binding ourselves to obsolete fossil fuels impedes the realisation of clean and affordable renewable energy's benefits,” said Ms Chiponda.

She added: “Hosting COP28 in a major oil-producing nation would be apt, marking the end of fossil fuel expansion and heralding a future fueled by clean energy.

The report calls for a doubling of adaptation finance.

Low-risk concessional loans

The report underscores the necessity for prioritising low-risk concessional loans and grants over high-risk ones that risk countries falling into greater debt.

“This approach would ensure that adaptation projects are not only effective but also financially accessible, with a special focus on the most vulnerable communities,” read the report.

Mr Dean Bhebhe, Lead Campaigner, Don't Gas Africa said hosting COP28 in a major oil-producing nation underscores the irony we face.

“Let's use this as a wake-up call to set a firm deadline for phasing out fossil fuels. As Africa, we must defy Energy Apartheid, where the privileged few benefit while the majority, especially in impoverished areas, lack access to energy,” said M Bhebhe.

He added: “African nations, united by a collaborative spirit, must break free from development constraints worsened by the climate emergency. Solidarity and decisive action are our tools to combat the climate crisis. The Africa Agenda for COP28 is our bold step towards a sustainable future.

The report insists on clear commitments and tangible progress in climate finance negotiations. It staunchly advocates for the fulfilment of the long-overdue $100 billion pledge by developed countries.

The report stresses the paramount importance of grants over loans, aligning financial support with justice and fairness principles to meet the urgent needs of developing nations.

“COP28 presents a great opportunity. This must be the turning point for African nations' resounding commitment to a sustainable future. It's time to shatter the chains of fossil fuel dependency. Africa's renewable energy potential is vast. Our collective actions, not mere words, will lead Africa toward a greener, more equitable world,” said Mr Omar Elmawi, African Climate Justice Champion.

The report says a critical aspect of Africa’s Agenda for COP28 is a thorough review of pre-2020 commitments, climate finance, and technology transfer within the framework of the Global Stocktake (GST) process and resolute global efforts to limit temperature rise and mitigation towards 1.5C.

With 2023 poised to be the hottest year ever recorded, UN Secretary-General António Guterres declared that this year marks the end of global warming and the onset of global boiling.