A week to the COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai, Power Shift Africa, has published a report titled Africa’s Agenda for COP28. The report issues a compelling call for decisive and unprecedented actions at COP28 to combat the escalating climate crisis. It was 24 November 2023.
With 2023 poised to be the hottest year ever recorded, the UN Secretary-General declared that this year marks the end of global warming and the onset of global boiling. This urgency is magnified in Africa where there has been drought in the Horn of Africa, causing unprecedented death and suffering, in a continent least responsible for the climate crisis.
Even the most polluting nations are not immune to the climate crisis, with recent floods in New York and Dubai serving as a stark reminder that mere words and pledges won’t thwart the destructive power of the climate crisis.
As COP28 approaches, the big question is; will this summit step up and provide an unprecedented response to the global climate crisis? The report urges a strong response at COP28 to address the unique challenges of the current climate emergency, by focusing on 6 Key areas:
Loss and Damage Fund: The report places urgent emphasis on the finalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund, advocating for robust financial and technical institutional arrangements. This fund, it says, is not merely a financial instrument but a lifeline for vulnerable communities disproportionately impacted by climate-induced disasters. It calls for the swift establishment of the fund as this is critical for providing timely and effective support for recovery and adaptation.
Just Transition Work Programme: Central to the report is the call for a well-defined mandate for the Just Transition Work Programme. The report calls for a program 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, ensuring no one is left behind.
Global Goal on Adaptation: A core demand from the report is the unambiguous definition of the Global Goal on Adaptation, coupled with a call for doubling adaptation finance. 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, it argues, would ensure that adaptation projects are not only effective but also financially accessible, with a special focus on the most vulnerable communities.
Climate Finance Commitments: The report insists on clear commitments and tangible progress in climate finance negotiations. It staunchly advocates for the fulfillment of the long-overdue $100 billion pledge by developed countries. Furthermore, 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.
Global Stocktake Process: A critical aspect of the Africa’s Agenda for COP28 report is a thorough review of pre-2020 commitments, climate finance, and technology transfer within the framework of the Global Stocktake (GST) process. This scrutiny, it insists, must be guided by principles of equity, and is pivotal to fortify collective efforts in achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
Mitigation towards 1.5C: The report underscores the need for resolute global efforts to limit temperature rise, emphasizing equity, responsibility, and concrete actions. Post-COP26, where a 1.5°C limit was endorsed, the report calls for an acceleration of mitigation efforts. It cautions against undue reliance on carbon removal technologies, condemns recent reversals in climate commitments, and outlines expectations for COP28, emphasising increased reliance on renewable energy and actions grounded in equity principles.
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. 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 agreement of a Loss and Damage Fund at last year’s meeting in Egypt was a great example of what can be achieved when global south cooperation is robust. We need to see that momentum continue in Dubai. Mohamed Adow, Founder and Executive Director, Power Shift Africa.
Africa has the potential to lead the world in renewable energy, demonstrating that clean development is achievable without exacerbating the climate crisis. Boasting more wind, solar, and geothermal resources than any other region, Africa is uniquely positioned. Yet, many African nations still cling to fossil fuels, risking a polluted and perilous future. Binding ourselves to obsolete fossil fuels impedes the realization of clean and affordable renewable energy’s benefits. 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. Lorraine Chiponda, coordinator, Africa Climate Movement-of-Movements
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. 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. Dean Bhebhe, Lead Campaigner, Don’t Gas Africa
COP28 presents a great opportunity. This must be the turning point for African nations—a 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. Omar Elmawi, African Climate Justice Champion