The African Union Declaration on Climate Change signifies the continent’s proactive stance in tackling one of the most pressing global issues of our time. This comprehensive commitment underscores Africa’s dedication to addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by climate change. Through this declaration, the African Union emphasizes its determination to implement sustainable strategies, foster regional cooperation, and work collaboratively on climate resilience, mitigation, and adaptation measures. It signifies a united effort to safeguard the environment, promote sustainable development, and advocate for climate justice across the African continent, aligning with global goals to combat the impacts of climate change.
THE AFRICAN UNION BRIEF HISTORY
The current African Union, hereafter referred to as the African Union, was previously known as the Organization of African Union (OAU). Founded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which is located in the Horn of Africa, it was under the auspices of former Emperor Haile Selassie when 32 members converged for the first time on 25 May 1963. On May 9, 2002, OAU changed its name to AU. Modeled from the EU, it was formed to create unity and solidarity among African countries and the peoples of Africa.
The African Union Declaration on Climate Change
From the 4th to 6th of September, 2023, Heads of the AU converged in Nairobi to deliberate on factors pertaining to the solidification of African nations on how to combat the negative impacts of environmental changes. In its preamble, the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) showered praise on Kenya’s President William Ruto for hosting the summit. Going by the philosophical adage “an object of striking appearance catches one’s attention”, perhaps, President William Ruto who completed his PhD in Botany, wanted to demonstrate his philosophical desire to salvage the African environment that is undergoing artificial foreign destruction but not natural as many would speculate.
The Main Objectives
As mentioned in the addendum, the main objective of the summit was to fight the encompassing climate change that is affecting the African continent. The leaders at the gathering commended Egypt for the historic COP27 and its outcomes. As per the 6th Assessment Report (AR6), there was an outcry that the world was not up to the task in keeping with the required 1.5 degrees limit and that the expected 45 percent global emissions anticipation for this decade remains to be obtained.
The Attendees of the Summit
The gatherers at the summit included heads of State of African governments. In general, only 17 Heads of State from Africa attended the summit. Reports of African leaders absent from the summit have been spreading in the media. The absence of South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, and Nigeria’s Bola Tinubu caused consternation among critics. Kenya’s media, citing three senior foreign ministry officials broke the news regarding President Museveni’s absence.
As for President Museveni of Uganda, according to Kenya media, he was reported to have escaped the summit because of his refusal to be lectured by John Kerry who hails from a Global North country that is among the world’s biggest polluters. Citing sources, one outlet reported: “According to President Museveni, it was very disgraceful to sit in a room and be lectured on climate change by the very people who have plunged Africa and the Global South into this devastating crisis.” On the same length, Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu echoed the same sentiments as Museveni. There’s something sinister about the absence of the Heads of States of 38 African countries in a continent of 54 countries. There were only seventeen Heads of States from Africa who attended the Summit on Climate Change in Nairobi, Kenya.
Since the head of Ethiopia is Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, his absence could appear mind boggling to those who follow African politics. In retracing the history of AU, it was Ethiopia that was the first venue of the former OAU. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Gutteres and European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen also attended. Other high-profile and prominent people included Simon Stielli, Executive Secretary of UNFCC; Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland; Chief Climate Officer USAID, Gillian Caldwell; State Secretary and Special Envoy for International Climate Action at the Federal Foreign Office, Jennifer Morgan of the Federal Foreign Office, Germany.
There were also other attendees from the African Continent who were an amalgamation of men and women dedicated to preserving the climate change crisis. However, the main players of the summit were foreigners who have been accused of plundering African resources. Among them was John Kerry who has been accused by non-state actors as the climate change actor for the United States. Unbeknown to millions of Africans, the summit was a venue for the allocation of drawing rights where Africa got the lowest allocation, yet it is the main victim of climate crisis. A single developed foreign country that experiences little environmental degradation was allocated financing that was far more than what the entire African continent anticipated.
The Agenda of the Summit
Even though the main agendas discussed at the summit were many, the major concern was how Africa’s natural resources are being manipulated by foreign sources. With Africa having 40% of the world’s renewable energy resources, only $60billion or 3% of the overall $3trillion of the global renewable energy investments reached Africa. Contributing meaningfully to global de-carbonization was another agenda that required elaborate commitment. The electrification of Africa was another major point in the addendum. Meeting the required 300 Giga Watts (GW) that will enable Africa to become self-sufficient by 2030 at an estimated cost of $600 in the next 7 years that translates to a tenfold increase flowing into Africa’s energy sector, requires complete universal unification and implementation with the help of the international community.
There was a major call to the international community to accelerate with urgency previous promises and obligations pertaining to support Africa in overcoming, and addressing climate change and reducing emissions. Restraining biodiversity loss through recognizing the importance of oceans in the resuscitation of environmental degradation was another issue that was profoundly discussed. In the summit discussions, it appeared as if the entire African continent was entombed in an irreparable environmental damage. Other than mentioning emissions and environmental degradation, the deliberate disposing of nuclear wastes by nuclear powered nations inland and along Africa’s coastlines have not been mentioned. The summit urged world leaders to commit to taxation on maritime and aviation and also on fossil fuel.
Propelling African countries
Africa seems to be gaining consciousness after remaining separated politically, socially and economically by external forces misguidances and opposing dictatorial obscurantisms plus enforced closed borders that placed barriers for free human traffic and trade and investments. Part of the collective action, Africa is in dire need of economic development since it has all the required natural resources that will make it a force to reckon with. As African leaders claim, they remained separated by their former colonial masters into Anglophone and Francophone speaking countries. That’s why English and French remain the major languages spoken by Africans even though Arabic is the most widely spoken language in the African continent.
Borrowing a leaf from former Muslim scholar and author Maulana Al-Maududi who once wrote “the psychology of imitation suggests that it has sprang from a sense of inferiority and abasement and that its net consequence is the cultivation of the defeatist mentality”, African leaders have been divided along Anglophone and Francophone peripheries until recently with no forward stretch to attaining progress in all aspects. It has been so because, according to W.I. Thomas, an American sociologist, “an object of striking appearance catches one’s attention.” Politically affiliating with Anglophone and Francophone political foundations and dictations preposterously strangulated the entire continent finally leaving it in a bleeding mess.
Even with the ideological formulation of Afrocentrism, the succession of African leaders failed to unify the mighty continent as stipulated in the OAU and later AU regulatory measures agreed upon in 1963 and 2002 respectively. Peaceful and bloody coups became a common phenomenon that were orchestrated by foreign influencers.
The trials and tribulations faced by the former Libyan President, Colonel Muamar Qaddafi to unite the African continent, did not augur well with a major superpower. The scuffles and final fight over the Gulf of Sitra off the coast of Libya when Ronald Reagan was the President of the United States, diminished the Libyan Navy after horrendous strikes by the joint US Navy Fleet and Air force. With sophisticated jet fighters catapulting from an Air force base in Stuttgart, Germany causing tremendous damages to the historic City of Benghazi, on the other hand, the US Naval fleet left unscathed after firing sophisticated missile salvos from Aircraft Carriers, battleships, cruisers, destroyers and frigates. Finally, with Obama at the helm, hell broke loose on Libya after the leader of the African continent, Muamar Qaddafi was finally killed by an uprising orchestrated by foreigners.
To enable Africa to attain middle-income status by 2050 through positive climate investment that is anchored in industrialization ventures, pursuing shared equality and to reach prosperity, and resolving the COP27 loss and damage fund, were some of the issues requiring of implementing. By resolving above issues, there could be hope that it will eventually propel the African continent to its desired destinations. It was decided to make the summit a biennial one that will be convened by the AU and hosted by member states and to increase the current 2022 renewable electric power generation of 56 GW to 300 GW by 2050.
Africa Regains Consciousness
The absence of 38 African leaders from the recently concluded summit requires further elucidation. It appears that majority of African leaders have a bone to pick with the powerful nations that fall in the Global North category.
The absentees could be in the forefront of fighting what is referred to as “Dependency Theory.” While Africa has 40% of the world’s natural resources, the un-political and un-philosophical treacherous method of fleecing the natural resources of the African continent by nations in the Global North has now been clearly understood by the absentees. While Global North nations continue to reap the benefits of a theoretical foundation that creates unending poverty for Africa, it appears to the absentees that time is ripe for them to get rid of the ongoing calamitous dependency.
On the other hand, the horrors of slavery, colonialism, neocolonialism and political interference still ring in the ears of the absentees. According to African media sources, in terms of political interference, the continuous coups in Africa have been deliberately instigated by nations that fall in the Global North, and that it is time for African leaders to work together to end foreign domineering. African leaders’ philosophy of fighting the denigrating ideologies of Westernism and Europeanism seems to be gaining ground. While the Global North is accelerating at high speed technologically and in other forms, Africa appears to be decelerating in all aspects especially nation building and social development. Poverty, malnutrition, drug addiction, encompassing underdevelopment and lack of vital resources have become the norm in modern Africa.
The recent declaration of universally legitimizing LGBT by a power in the Global North must have been a major reason for absentees disassociating with the Nairobi Summit. The spiraling of De-Westernization of Africa’s youth that is gaining momentum in many parts of the African continent must have been a precursor for the absentees’ philosophical deviations.
Conclusion and the Results of the Summit
Developmental measures intended to catapult Africa to greater heights include implementing tough policies and regulations, the desire for economic growth and job creations, limiting emissions, strengthening regulatory measures that will reduce deforestation and desertification and biodiversity loss. There is the need to pursue global collaboration, however, since cooperation and coordination have not been mentioned, collaboration alone may not work. The summit may appear successful to the attendants, however, to those who decided not to attend, there’s a lot to ponder over. In a summit where majority have been missing, including South Africa and Nigeria who are considered business magnates and a haven for industrialization plus Uganda that is sitting on unique unexploited natural resources such as uranium and diamonds, the presence of only 17 delegates may not augur well with the torchbearers of climate change and industrial emissions. There’s a reason for a country like Burundi to show up because it is considered the poorest country in the world.