AWF at the Africa Climate Summit: Day One Highlights

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Mike Seay is AWF's Digital Marketing Officer. Mike strives to advocate for conservation as he writes, edits, and strategizes for AWF's advocacy campaigns, e-newsletters, marketing initiatives, and website. After graduating with a B.A. in Political Philosophy, Policy, and Law from the University of… More

AWF officially joined the 2023 Africa Climate Summit and Africa Climate Week opening ceremony happening this week in Nairobi, Kenya. At the opening plenary, the diverse speakers ranging from youth representatives to Indigenous People and Local communities, alongside the co-conveners, the Government of Kenya and the African Union, shared a common message highlighting the strength of African-owned and African-led solutions that will ensure prosperity for Africans—delivering both for the continent and for the world at large. 

Youth voices were front and center at the opening ceremony, as youth representatives who were actively engaged at the recently culminated Africa Youth Climate Assembly presented their call to action for greater inclusion of youth in climate action and development, with a strong commitment to take leadership in climate adaptation innovations. 

Anne Samanthe from the National Indigenous Peoples Coordinating Committee on Climate Change called for renewable energy initiatives that follow resolute compliance with free, prior, and informed consent, the mainstreaming of Indigenous knowledge in climate solutions, and improved accessibility to finance.

Additionally, Kenya’s President, Dr. William Ruto, finished his opening remarks by setting the tone for upcoming negotiations and commitments: “I invite all to adopt an opportunity lens as we navigate these complex dialogues.” 

The AWF delegation on the ground engaged and participated in several key events that had numerous African experts sharing key insights on climate financing solutions, Africa’s agency as an equal partner, and initiatives to leapfrog climate action:  

Frederick Kwame Kumah: I will be speaking at "A new African conservation & clean cooking collective" — 14:30-15:30 EAT, Room SE 4 (132) KICC

At the African Union House, H.E. Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, Sustainable Environment, African Union Commission, stressed that donors should channel resources directly into the hands of communities and put more trust in their collective power to deliver for climate.

At an event led by the World Resources Institute, community leaders from the Congo Basin made a strong case that communities are not just custodians of nature—they can be leaders for nature-based enterprise. They called for investment and compensation for the global goods they provide through ecosystem services, accompanied by technical assistance to empower communities on the ground. 

Tomorrow, we invite summit attendees to attend an event led by the Clean Cooking Alliance, titled “A New African Conservation & Clean Cooking Initiative: Unlocking the Value of Clean Cooking for Nature.”  Frederick Kwame Kumah, our Vice President, Global Leadership, will be speaking as one of the panelists alongside the African Development Bank and Mwangaza Light, discussing how a just clean energy transition defined in the African context can deliver for restoration programs around the world. 

 AWF works to support a clean energy transition through efficient stove-making techniques in the Bili-Uele landscape. Find out how clean cooking can ease pressures on both women and the forest.

Eileen Kairu contributed to this article.