14 March 2019: The first regional edition of the One Planet Summit highlighted Africa’s role as a global partner with respect to innovative solutions for adaptation and resilience, and focused on renewable energy access and the protection of African ecosystems to foster and support sustainable growth while improving the resilience of vulnerable populations.

The ‘One Planet Summit in Nairobi: Africa Pledge’ convened on 14 March 2019, on the sidelines of the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) in Nairobi, Kenya. It brought together representatives from government, the private sector, civil society, financial institutions and academia. Participants showcased successes and new initiatives, forged new coalitions and partnerships, and announced new commitments to develop renewable energy and protect biodiversity in Africa. The meeting sought to build momentum ahead of the UN Secretary-General’s 2019 Climate Summit in September.

Participants agreed on the Nairobi Call for Action on the Conservation and Preservation of Forests in Africa, which calls on all stakeholders to: undertake voluntary actions that contribute to halting deforestation; map key priority areas to preserve and identify activities that are undermining forest sustainability; and elaborate strategies for implementation, bringing together national and local authorities, the private sector and local communities.

During the Summit, the World Bank Group (WBG) announced plans to scale up climate action in Africa through USD 22.5 billion in new finance for the period 2021-2025. More than half of the financing will support adaptation and resilience in Africa. The funding is part of the WBG’s 2025 Targets to Step Up Climate Action, launched in December 2018 during the Katowice Climate Change Conference to help African countries manage climate risks while unlocking new investment opportunities.

Investment and innovation to harness nature could provide up to one third of emission reductions between now and 2030 to keep global warming under 2°C.

In addition, the World Bank will help Rwanda and Kenya accelerate implementation of, and raise the level of ambition for, their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by helping to mainstream and institutionalize climate adaptation and mitigation across and within development sectors and governance levels.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) announced its intent to, inter alia: commit at least USD 25 billion towards climate finance for the period 2020-2025; support African financial institutions to align financial flows with the Paris Agreement on climate change; and launch the ‘Green Baseload’ facility to provide concessional finance and technical assistance to support penetration and scale-up of renewable energy to displace coal generation. The Bank also pledged to build the world’s largest solar zone across the Sahel and provide electricity for 250 million people, through ‘Desert to Power,’ and to provide technical assistance to 30 African countries to support NDC integration into the SDGs and national development plans.

Commitments were also made by, inter alia:

  • the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), through the launch of a ‘Biodiversity Facility,’ to help 16 countries develop their national biodiversity strategies;
  • Sweden to expand off-grid electricity solutions in sub-Saharan Africa by social impact procurement;
  • the Global Alliance for Smart Cities in Africa to provide access to clean energy and connectivity through a smart lamppost programme; and
  • the Sub national Climate Fund Africa (SnCF Africa) to help fund the development of low-carbon infrastructure projects.

Addressing the Summit, UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, highlighted the need to: invest in green, sustainable infrastructure and finance; respond to the needs of the younger generation, and view climate action as an opportunity to deliver jobs and economic security; leverage the digital revolution for climate action, and ask digital and internet companies to power their new infrastructure and data centers with clean energy; and invest and innovate to harness nature, which could provide up to one third of emission reductions between now and 2030 to keep the global average temperature rise to less than 2°C above preindustrial levels.

The Summit was convened by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, French President Emmanuel Macron, Interim WBG President Kristalina Georgieva and UN Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed. The One Planet Summit is an initiative of the Government of France, launched in partnership with the UN, WBG and Bloomberg Philanthropies. [One Planet Summit in Nairobi Webpage] [UN Press Release] [World Bank Press Release] [Africa Pledge: Chair’s Summary] [Nairobi Call for Action] [Statement by the UN Deputy Secretary-General] [IISD RS Summary of UNEA-4] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Second Edition of One Planet Summit]


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