Climate Summit: A look at the Nairobi Declarations of 1990 and 2023

by MMC
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The “Nairobi Declaration”, which is the decision adopted by world leaders at the end of the 2023 African Climate Summit in the Kenyan capital, is very different from the 1990 document of the same name, experts have said .

THE “Nairobi Declaration”, signed 33 years agofollowed an international climate conference organized by the African Center for Technology Studies and the Woods Hole Research Center, and was held at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in the city.

The two documents are similar in that they highlight why global emissions must be reduced and highlight the existential threat that climate change poses to the world. But how are the two statements different?

UN versus AU framework

First, the 1990 declaration is a 33-page document that was developed within the framework of the United Nations (UN), while the 2023 declaration is designed within the framework of the African Union (AU).

“They are different. If the 1990 Declaration had been designed within the framework of the AU, then in the preamble of the 2023 Declaration, the first thing to do would have been to recall it. But as the 1990 Declaration was designed within the framework of the United Nations, this means that it is the first ever “Nairobi Declaration” from African leaders,” Dr. Philip Osano, Africa Director of the Institute, told the Nation of the Stockholm environment.

Examining the impact of climate change in relation to policy making

The 1990 document, entitled “International Conference on Global Warming and Climate Change: African Perspectives”, notes in its summary that the objective at the time was to examine the possible impacts of global climate change on ecosystems, economies and global infrastructure of African countries. countries.

Looking back, Dr. Osano reminds us that in November 1988, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and UNEP established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to assess current scientific knowledge , socio-economic impacts and policy response options in countries.


African Climate Summit: President Ruto delivers Nairobi Declaration

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution in December 1988 calling for the preservation of the global climate as part of the common heritage of humanity. It also adopted a resolution convening a United Nations conference on environment and development in 1992.

Therefore, the 1990 document and conference were part of preparatory work carried out two years earlier. Furthermore, the aim of the 1992 conference was to establish a coherent international plan of action for environmental issues. According to the 1990 Declaration, participants from the continent and other researchers from around the world presented the most recent data of the time, models and case studies on anticipated global warming and its impacts.

“The Declaration is particularly addressed to African policy makers and researchers as well as governments and interested parties around the world,” the 1990 document states.

In contrast, the 2023 Declaration commits African leaders to develop and implement climate policies, regulations and incentives to attract local, regional and global green investments, and to stimulate economic growth and job creation of the Africa in a way that doesn’t just limit the continent’s own emissions. but also supports global decarbonization efforts.

World leaders also committed to finalizing and implementing the draft African Union Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan to realize the 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature, supporting small farmers, indigenous peoples and local communities in the green economic transition, among other initiatives.

“Nothing to write home about”

But for climate finance experts like Dr. Fadhel Kaboub, associate professor of economics at Denison University and president of the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity, the 2023 “Nairobi Declaration” is nothing out of the ordinary.

“As an African economist, participating in the first African Climate Summit on African soil, I had high expectations, but unfortunately the “Nairobi Declaration” leaves much to be desired. I hoped that our leaders would put forward a bold, transformative, coherent and comprehensive vision on climate and development for Africa,” says the Tunisian expert.

He continues by pointing out what he didn’t like.

“Even if external debt constitutes a serious problem that limits our economic and monetary sovereignty and reduces fiscal space to act on the climate and invest in national priorities, it is important to recognize that external debt is a symptom of deficiencies much deeper structural problems: deficits, energy deficits and manufacturing industry with low added value. The economic transformation that our leaders needed to rally behind cannot ignore the importance of food sovereignty (not just food security), renewable energy sovereignty and high value-added pan-African industrialization,” notes Dr. Kaboub .

He believes this year’s meeting in Nairobi was a missed opportunity to harmonize our climate, energy, adaptation and development strategies. Instead, he says, we “find false solutions proposed in the Nairobi declaration, such as carbon markets, which simply amount to cheap pollution permits for historic polluters in the North who can pass on the cost permits for their clients in the South of the world.

Dr Kaboub said he expected African leaders to come clean.

“Africa owes a climate debt to historical polluters. Climate reparations must be provided in the form of debt forgiveness (not debt restructuring), technology transfer (not imported green technologies), grants (not loans ) for adaptation and economic resilience, and a transformation of the global architecture of trade, finance and investment. »

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