ODEDE: Include the most hard hit in Africa Climate Summit

The people who suffer the most are at the grassroots.

In Summary
  • I believe this summit in Nairobi will yield positive results that can be implemented.
  • The truth is, that climate change is affecting developing countries more than the developed ones.

This week, Kenya will host several African Heads of State for the inaugural Africa Climate Summit.

I want to thank our President for leading this initiative and I’m glad to see Africa leading the way on climate issues.

However, we have been having so many of these climate summits year in and year out with little impact to show.

Last November, Egypt hosted COP27 which brought together delegates from 193 countries.

Several declarations were made including the establishment of a fund for responding to loss and damage brought about by climate change.

Almost a year later, we cannot measure what the countries have done to implement what was agreed upon during the conference at Sharm el-Sheikh.

The participants ended the conference without solving the issue of operationalization of the fund to support the most vulnerable people in developing countries.

Once again, the issue of funding will be up for discussion this week, this time being spearheaded by African Presidents who now believe the continent is feeling the climate change impact more than before.

"Climate action is not a Global North issue or a Global South issue. It is our collective challenge, and it affects all of us. We need to come together to find common, global solutions,” President William Ruto said recently.

The United Nations Environment Programme estimated in 2016 that the global cost of adapting to climate impacts is expected to grow to $140-300 billion per year by 2030 and $280-500 billion per year by 2050.

I believe this summit in Nairobi will yield positive results that can be implemented because the truth is, that climate change is affecting developing countries more than the developed ones.

The people who suffer the most are at the grassroots, especially those in the informal settlements where I grew up.

In the recent climate change summits, there have been talks about funds, but if the impact of this phenomenon is affecting poor people, what do they get? Where does this money go?

I was walking in Kibera slums this week and people are just hearing that African presidents will come to Nairobi and wondering what they are coming to do.

Honestly, they have no idea about the summit.

Are the people from Kenyan slums attending the meeting? The people in Northern Kenya whose livestock are dying because of climate change, have they been invited to this summit?

I hope they will be in this meeting and will be given a chance to speak at the podium to share their experiences.

Otherwise, we are just talking and chasing the wind. It is time for action. It is time for commitment that can be followed and see what we have achieved.

The government in Kenya is building affordable houses. Are they green affordable houses? Are they environmentally friendly? Are they using solar as a source of energy? I hope our President will lead on this.

Mr. President, if I were you, the first thing we care about is affordable housing, which is to make green affordable housing where a majority of the residents will use renewable energy.

I hope that will be one of the President’s commitments at this summit.

The government must stand and show the world what it has done.

It is a shame to see a polluted Lake Victoria, contaminated Athi River water and garbage-choked Nairobi River.

Actions must be seen even in a small way.

Recently, the President lifted the ban on logging.

I hope he will change his mind and preserve our forests because we know people will take advantage of destroying the ecosystem.  

Unlike before, I hope the most affected people will be listened to and the commitments made will be implemented fully.

Dr. Kennedy Odede - is the founder and CEO of Shofco, a member of USAid Advisory Board, World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, multiple humanitarian award winner, including 2022 Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year, best-selling author. Twitter @KennedyOdede

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