Woman standing in plantation in front of a tree
Denise Schneider/CARE

First Africa Climate Summit falls short on delivering for the most vulnerable

As the curtain came down on the inaugural Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, CARE Kenya is disappointed with the lack of focus on vulnerable populations impacted by climate change.

The first summit to bring African leaders to exclusively address climate issues ended with a joint “Nairobi declaration” that will serve as a basis for Africa’s common position in the global climate change process. The declaration addressed important issues on climate finance but left vulnerable populations — especially women and girls, who are often the most impacted by the effects of climate change — on the margins of climate action.

Vulnerable people at the center

CARE expected African leaders to raise the urgency in addressing the climate emergency and protecting the rights and livelihoods of its citizens by putting vulnerable people at the center of the discussions. The Confederation also wanted a strong people-centered declaration that called on developed countries to fulfill their historical and current responsibilities towards climate change.

CARE expected African leaders to put the African people above all personal and collective political and economic interests.
said Chikondi Chabvuta, Regional Advocacy Advisor, Southern Africa, CARE International.

"We called on them to listen to the voices of their people, especially the youth, women, and other vulnerable groups, who have been hit the most by the consequences of climate change. However, it was disappointing to witness most of the discussions throughout the summit, including the final declaration, focusing heavily on business and investments in carbon trading, while negating the interests of the most vulnerable populations," concluded Chabvuta.

Limited pressure on climate finance

In the points of the declaration that addressed climate finance - funding to support mitigation or adaptation to climate change impacts - CARE's Climate Policy Advisor Obed Koringo, applauded the pressure for increased international support.

"CARE welcomes the African leaders' call for acceleration of the ongoing initiatives to reform the multilateral financial system and global financial architecture, and the emphasis on innovative climate finance options. The final declaration also calls upon developed countries to honor the $100 billion per year commitments and operationalization of the loss and damage fund at COP28."

However, Koringo stressed there were key missing issues to guarantee urgent support to all people impacted by the climate emergency:

"The summit missed a golden opportunity to call for enhanced, flexible, new and additional finance for adaptation, and lacked the commitment to put in place what is needed to channel adaptation finance to the local level, where it is required the most.”