by Robert Guyana

Director General Immigration Evelyne Cheluget has appeared at JKIA to assess the preparedness of our officers for the Africa Climate Summit,2023.

In the Summit that will kick off next week, over 30,000 delegates are expected to converge in Nairobi.

In a speech delivered to the African Parliamentary Dialogue being held on the sidelines of the African Climate Summit that starts in Nairobi on Monday, he said by creating uniform standards for climate action, African countries can streamline efforts, share best practices, and amplify our impact.

“The decisions we make, the ideas we share, and the collaborations we foster over the course of this dialogue will resonate far beyond these walls. Our conversations will contribute to the transformation of Africa’s response to climate change, setting the stage for innovative solutions and inspiring leadership. As we discuss climate policy, we must also emphasize the principle of equity. Our nations have diverse circumstances, capacities, and vulnerabilities, and our policies must reflect this diversity,” he said in the speech delivered on his behalf by Gilgil MP Martha Wangari, who is the first chairperson of committees.

The dialogue meeting held at Safari Park hotel was attended by President William Ruto, Senate  Speaker Amason Kingi,  President of the Pan African Parliament Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira, AUC Chairperson Moussaa Fakki, various Cabinet secretaries and members of Pan African Parliament and across Africa and civil society representatives, among others.

Wetang’ula said the dialogue brought them together by a common purpose – to harness the power of collective action in the face of an issue that transcends national borders and affects us all.

“ The Africa Climate Summit is not just a conference; it is a testament to our continent’s determination to forge a sustainable path forward, protect our environment, and secure the well-being of our people,” he said.

The Speaker noted that the urgency of climate action cannot be overstated as climate change is not just an environmental issue; it’s a human issue, an economic issue, and a social issue.

“The impacts of climate change – from extreme weather events to sea-level rise – pose real threats to our livelihoods, our economies, and our very way of life. Climate policy is not an option; it’s an imperative,” he added.

However, he noted that through robust climate policy, there is an opportunity to mitigate the effects of climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create a more resilient and sustainable future for the continent’s people.

“Climate policy is about envisioning a world where our children and grandchildren can thrive, free from the shackles of a changing climate,” he added.

He noted that the African Union Agenda 2063 Vision I envisages a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development, an Africa that speaks with a unity of purpose in advancing its position and interests on climate change and participates in global efforts for climate change mitigation that broaden the policy space for sustainable development in the continent.

“Article 11 (1) of the PAP Protocol empowers the Pan-African Parliament to make recommendations and formulate regulations on any matter relating to the African Union Member States and their organs and institutions. I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of the members who participated in passing resolutions following the Summit on Climate Policy and Equity co-organised by the Pan African Parliament and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance which took place in Midrand, South Africa in May this year,” said Wetang’ula.

He said their dedication, wisdom, and collaborative spirit have resulted in a momentous achievement – the passing of resolutions to create a comprehensive climate policy for Africa and the establishment of a model law on climate change for our continent.

“Your efforts have transcended national borders and individual interests. In your deliberations, you have put the well-being of our people and the future of our continent at the forefront of your priorities. Your wisdom and foresight have guided us toward a path that will lead to resilience, adaptability, and progress in the face of the changing climate,” added Wetang’ula.

He said the creation of a climate policy tailored to Africa’s unique circumstances and the establishment of a model law on climate change sends a resounding message to the world – that Africa is committed to taking ownership of its environmental destiny and driving solutions that are just, equitable, and impactful.

Addressing the same forum, Dr Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Director of the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), a continental coalition of over 1,000 civil society organizations that promotes climate justice and sustainable development in Africa, noted that Africa is the most vulnerable continent to the impacts of climate change, yet it contributes the least to global greenhouse gas emissions.

He termed it as a grave injustice that must be addressed by the international community and by African governments.

“We must ensure that Africa’s voice is heard and respected in the global climate negotiations and secure adequate and predictable finance, technology and capacity-building support to implement our nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and adaptation plans. That is why the Africa climate summit, which opens on Monday, is an opportunity we cannot afford to waste,” he said.

According to Dr Mwenda, the challenge for Africa in a climate-constrained world is cut out.

“We must ensure that our climate policies and actions are aligned with our development priorities and aspirations, as articulated in Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals. We must pursue low-carbon development pathways that enhance our energy, food, water, and health security while protecting our natural resources and biodiversity. We must empower our communities, especially women and youth, to participate in decision-making and implementing climate solutions at all levels,” he said. 

Dr Mwenda commended the Pan-African Parliament for its leadership and commitment to advancing climate justice and equity in Africa.

“We appreciate your resolutions and recommendations on various climate-related issues, such as renewable energy, climate finance, loss and damage, adaptation, mitigation, and human rights. We urge you to follow up on these resolutions and recommendations with concrete actions and advocacy at the national and regional levels,” he said.

Mwenda noted that one of the main recommendations we have made over the years is the need to enhance the African common position on climate change, which was adopted by the African Union in 2009.

He said this position calls for ambitious and binding emission reduction commitments from developed countries, adequate and predictable financial support for adaptation and mitigation actions in developing countries, technology transfer and capacity building, and a comprehensive and inclusive framework for addressing loss and damage, adding that it is based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and supported by science. 

He urged the body to engage with other regional and international parliamentary bodies, such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the European Parliament, and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, to build solidarity and consensus on key climate issues.

“We have also encouraged the parliament to amplify the voices of vulnerable and marginalized groups, such as women, youth, indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities, who are most affected by climate change,” he said.

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