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Africa Climate Week 2022

Gabon kicks off the push for climate action and collaboration ahead of COP27
Child playing on dry brown cracked land in the heat of the desert at Deadvlei in Namib-Naukluft National Park in Namibia, Africa

Africa Climate Week (ACW) 2022 kicked off on Monday (29 August) in Libreville, Gabon by convening ministers from across the continent to discuss the threats and opportunities associated with climate change.

This high-level political push for collaboration on climate comes just months before Africa hosts the COP27 UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November.

Addressing climate injustice

At the opening ceremony, President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, was joined by ministers and other delegates from 42 countries from across Africa and officials from key UN and multilateral agencies.

More than 1,000 key stakeholders from all parts of Africa will come together to collaborate, discuss risk and work together towards opportunity.

In a video address, Amina J. Mohammed, deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, said: ‘This is a much-need climate conference on African soil. We are still far from meeting the 1.5 goal or achieving full protection for our populations. We need to provide means of implementation for all the objectives of the Paris Agreement.’

‘With less than 70 days until COP, we need to see that commitments made are commitments kept, including at COP26 in Glasgow’, Amina J. Mohammed continued. ‘Africa has contributed least to the climate emergency. And yet it is facing devastating impacts, with biodiversity loss, water shortages, reduced food production, loss of lives and livelihoods. All of this is undoing years of progress and undermining the sustainable development goals. COP27 must show that multilateralism can deliver for Africa and for the world.’

ACW 2022 will run until 02 September, and marks an important step towards the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 in November.

‘As we prepare for COP27, this week is opportune to articulate Africa’s priorities for reducing emissions, building transformative adaptation, accessing appropriate finance and addressing loss and damage. The disproportionate responsibility placed on Africa, which contributes less than 4 percent of the world’s energy-related emissions but faces serious consequences to the lives and livelihood of its people, cannot be described as anything but climate injustice. We need bold and collective actions built on the principle of equity. Egypt’s COP27 Presidency is committed to ensuring that no one is left behind.’

SAMEH SHOUKRY
Egypt’s foreign minister and COP27 president-designate

Leadership for Gabon

Gabon has published its second Nationally Determined Contribution, in which the country commits to remain carbon neutral up to and beyond 2050.

Forests cover nearly 90% of the country’s surface, making it the second-most forested country on the planet.

Last year, Gabon became the first African country to receive payment for reducing emissions by protecting its forests. And Gabon has passed legislation that will pave the way for the country to begin trade in carbon credits.


 

‘In less than three months, the UN Climate Change conference will take place in Sharm el- Sheikh, Egypt. COP27 is described as Africa’s COP and will significantly shape our future. As one of the last major climate events before COP27, Africa Climate Week can bring us together to walk down the road to COP27 with unity of purpose and resolve for a better future. I urge you to take this opportunity to work on innovative, concrete and sustainable solutions and give African nations the means to fight climate change successfully.’

ALI BONGO ONDIMBA
President of Gabon

Maintaining focus

ACW 2022 is hosted by the Government of Gabon and organised by UN Climate Change in collaboration with global partners UN Development Programme, UN Environment Programme and the World Bank Group.

Partners in the region include the Africa Union, the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and UN Gabon.

‘COP27 must be the implementation COP – where nations show how they will put the Paris Agreement to work in their countries through legislation, policies and programs. COP27 is also about supporting all segments of society under the banner of inclusive multilateralism, to drive significantly more climate action. This is all difficult, but we are making progress. In this time of mounting challenge, of crisis upon crisis, cooperation and consensus are fundamental to address the existential threat of climate change. And we must maintain our focus on that threat.’

OVAIS SARMAD
UN climate change deputy executive secretary

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