Kenya to the world: We want fairness not favours

Climate Change Advisor to the President Ali Mohamed with Wildlife PS Silvia Museiya during the establishment of the Kenya Conservation Round Table for Wildlife Biodiversity Sector at Nairobi Serena Hotel on December 8, 2022. He has said that Kenya does not want any handouts from the rich nations.


What you need to know:

  • All eyes will be on Nairobi to deliver a solid outcome for the continent as Kenya hosts African leaders, businesses, civil society movements and other global entities for the three-day summit later this year.

Last week Kenya kicked up a storm at a climate meeting in Bonn, Germany, when she told her delegates not to engage in Loss and Damage conversations. This sudden change of stance not only left the delegates confused but also worried about what that meant for Kenya’s engagement in the multilateral processes.

Now Kenya says that this same position is what she will bring to the Africa Climate Summit and will push the rest of the continent to support it.

“We will not be asking anyone for favours,” said Special Envoy for Climate Change, Ali Mohamed. “We don’t want any handouts from the rich nations.”

Ali says the continent will be making demands for fairness from the Global North on critical issues such as climate finance and reforms of the global financial architecture.

The envoy was speaking at a side event during the Climate Conference in Bonn, Germany.

All eyes will be on Nairobi to deliver a solid outcome for the continent as Kenya hosts African leaders, businesses, civil society movements and other global entities for the three-day summit later this year.

‘‘Kenya and Africa will be pushing for fairness in the financial architecture of the world to facilitate climate finance flows to vulnerable countries in Africa and the Global South,’’ Mohamed said.

As the point man for President William Ruto on the fight against climate change, Ali will be one of the lead coordinators of discussions at the summit. His role is also seen as pivotal in defining the summit narrative, but also the government’s position at the event.

‘‘This will not be a platform for blame games on who is responsible the most for climate change. This is an opportunity for Africa to present to the world its own version of solutions to the climate crisis. We have a lot more that we can offer to the world than demand from it,’’ Ali added.

According to the envoy, Africa is renewing its approach to the climate discourse by taking a proactive standpoint rather than pointing fingers to historical polluters, namely wealthy countries in the Global North.

‘‘It is not debatable that Africa has borne the brunt of the climate crisis. But we must also be alive to the reality that victimhood in past years has not yielded much for us. We must, therefore, change the approach by providing solutions,’’ he noted.

Africa will ride on the summit in Kenya to attract interest in investment opportunities in Africa from bilateral and multilateral entities.

The pressure to deliver a worthwhile outcome from the Nairobi meet is weighing heavily on President Ruto’s shoulders, who is the chairperson of the Committee of African Heads of State on Climate Change (CAHOSCC).

Established in 2009 by the African Union Assembly to spearhead an African Common Position on Climate Change, CAHOSCC ensures that Africa speaks with one voice during global climate change negotiations, a voice that is them communicated to the African Group of negotiators.

The Nairobi summit will happen two months before COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and is seen as a critical moment for the continent to take a position on various issues touching on climate finance, energy and reforms.

While the agenda of the three-day event is still being developed, those privy to the process say energy, food security, extraction of resources, and nature-based solutions will take centre-stage.

Nature-based solutions such as carbon projects continue to receive a backlash globally, with opinion divided over whether the projects actually remove carbon from the atmosphere. There is also controversy over land rights and compensation modalities for communities whose land is surrendered for carbon projects.

Meanwhile, Africa is exploring alternative ways to develop as it seeks to end reliance on extraction of resources such as oil and gas. The Just Transition report released in May shows that the continent can industrialise in a low-carbon and sustainable manner by tapping into its renewable energy potential.

Calls to end extraction of fossil fuels in Africa have, however, faced strong opposition from countries such as Uganda that are already putting final touches on plans to start extraction and exportation of oil.