This newsletter gives you highlights of selected sustainability insights that were, perhaps, too long (you) didn’t read (TLDR) or there’s just too much out there to read. The highlights presented cover insights gleaned from a global, regional (African), and national (Kenyan) perspective. Happy reading!
At the COP28 from 30th November to 12th December 2023, hosted by the UAE, the world will have its first-ever evaluation of our global response to our climate crisis. It’s the check point to see whether we are making progress, or not. But more importantly, it will be an opportunity to accelerate action by government, business, civil society and all stakeholders to get us all to limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees.
The March 2023 IPCC report, highlights that this decade is our chance to turn the tide “There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.”
The Global Stocktake is a global review (not national) in line with the Paris Agreement to check:
- GHG emissions reduction to limit temperatures to ideally 1.5 degrees
- Building resilience to impacts
- Providing financial, technical and capacity building support for climate action
- And help inform countries on improving the national action plans (NDCs) for submission in 2025
The 2 year Global Stocktake involves 3 phases: 1) data collection, 2) technical assessment, and 3) consideration of outputs – which will happen at COP28. In Q3 2023, a synthesis report will be released to inform the global political discussions at COP28, and highlight where action is needed.
The World Resource Institute (WRI) gives 5 areas we should hope for decisive action from COP28, which I capture as:
- Accelerating GHG emissions reduction – From the March 2023 IPCC report, it’s clear we are already off track big time. National climate action plans must be more ambitious.
- Change across sectors and systems – Transformative and large-scale action must happen with a focus on a just transition.
- Addressing adaptation and resilience – Gaps in adaptation finance, timely access to technical and capacity building assistance, and loss and damage need timely action out of COP28.
- Re-aligning finance and technical resources to climate action – finance and investment has to shift focus to address climate priorities
- Moving from promises to implementation – leadership, cooperation and equity will be put to the test at COP28 and onwards, we need less talk and more action.
My two cents: I am looking forward to the September 2023 synthesis report to know where action is needed. By the year-end festive season, we will have a sense of whether our government and industry leaders are going to be the change we want to see in the world or not. For me, I prefer to know the answer (good or bad) than not; and hopefully I will pay more attention to the actions not than words towards our closing window of opportunity.
AFRICA: Child Labour in Africa
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations released insights in recognition of World Day Against Child Labour on 12th June 2023, that 82% of children in labour on this continent, work in agriculture.
First off, what is child labour? According to the ILO, child labour is ‘work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.’ It’s work that is dangerous and harmful to a child, and the ILO explanation goes deeper into this.
Almost 1 in 10 children worldwide are in child labour (approx. 218M children).
Across all regions, agriculture has the highest portion of child labour worldwide. Although all labour isn’t hazardous, work in the agricultural sector tends to go beyond safety and wellbeing limits (FAO, 2023).
Because sustainability in supply chains is becoming a critical issue for any business. All sustainability related guidelines, certifications, reporting standards will generally have child labour as a hard and definitive NO.
It is worth bringing to your attention the Children’s Rights and Business Principles developed by UNICEF, UN Global Compact and Save the Children. These principles expect business action to respect and support children’s rights in their activities and business relationships. They also align to other various international conventions and guidelines set out to safeguard children; with the fundamental view that the child’s best interests are the primary consideration.
Here are the 10 Children’s Rights & Business Principles. All business should:
|· Meet their responsibility to respect children’s rights and commit to supporting the human rights of children
|· Use marketing and advertising that respect and support children’s rights
|· Contribute to the elimination of child labour, including in all business activities and business relationships
|· Respect and support children’s rights in relation to the environment and to land acquisition and use
|· Provide decent work for young workers, parents and caregivers
|· Respect and support children’s rights in security arrangements
|· Ensure the protection and safety of children in all business activities and facilities
|· Help protect children affected by emergencies
|· Ensure that products and services are safe, and seek to protect children’s rights through them
|· Reinforce community and government efforts to protect and fulfill children’s rights
The Children’s Rights and Business Principles provide comprehensive guidance on the actions businesses can take to embed all 10 Principles into policy, operations and business relationships. With 40% of Africans below 15 years old, children’s rights cannot and should not be ignored.
My two cents: If children are our future, as suggested by singer Whitney Houston; as adults, we had better get a move on putting things in good order!
In early June, President Ruto appointed Joseph Ng’ang’a CEO of the Africa Climate Summit (ACS) happening in Nairobi on 4th – 6th September 2023.
The Africa Climate Summit (ACS), co-hosted by Kenya and the African Union, will bring together African Heads of State, governments, and relevant stakeholders, on climate change. The summit will be a key platform to define Africa’s voice and its green growth agenda, under the Summit theme: “Africa Together for Bold, Innovative and Resourced Climate Action: Unlocking Climate Finance and Green Investments”.
Joseph Ng’ang’a will head the ACS secretariat to deliver this summit around 6 key themes:
- Climate finance
- Mitigation and green growth
- Climate adaptation and resilience
- Loss and damage
- Climate-vulnerable groups
- Research innovation and technology
The Africa Climate Summit Youth Assembly will also meet on 1st – 2nd September as a precursor to the ACS. Keep in mind that nearly 60% of Africans are youth, so they are (and hopefully will be) a powerful voice and position for Africa’s solutions and future.
The Mr. Ng’ang’a and the ACS Secretariat will work under the leadership of the Ministry of Environment to deliver solution and action driven discussions and outcomes, for the African Leaders Nairobi Declaration on Climate Change and Call to Action, to guide Africa’s climate agenda at COP28.
Joseph Ng’ang’a is also the VP for Africa, Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), co-founder of Africa Carbon Markets Initiative and Chair of the Funders Council for Sustainable Energy for All.
My two-cents: Nairobi is buzzing with energy, excitement, and (wisely so) anxiety as momentum gears up for the upcoming events – and more importantly solutions and action oriented deliberations. It’s clearly evident that Kenya wants to take a leadership role in drive Africa’s green growth and development agenda. Reflecting on the opportunity and potential, I am cautiously optimistic that this will actually happen.