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!
The ongoing 27th UN Climate Conference (COP27) in Egypt will shape humanity’s future (for better or worse). It’s two weeks of talks (6th – 17th November), and here’s a summary of priorities, by the World Resource Institute, I found useful on what to look out for when the speeches, discussions, negotiations draw to a close:
- Financing for loss and damage: all developing countries (G77 and China) asked for this to be on the agenda. Developed countries aren’t keen to discuss this, nor set aside funds. Developing countries saying that developed countries need to set money aside for damage and loss related to climate change. It’s a contentious issue and can be a deal-breaker of global collective action on climate change.
- More adaptation support: A recent IPCC report emphasized that adaptation needs to happen faster and are more scale than previous thought to help vulnerable countries and people. Today, less global financing is allocated to adaptation than mitigation (adaptation is 1/3 of mitigation finance). Global pledges towards adaptation made in 2019, are 71% short of the USD 40 billion commitment.
- Strengthen national emissions targets: The State of Climate Action 2022, warns that the window to limit global warming to 1.5oC is closing; and even if existing 2030 commitments are delivered, these commitments will get us to 2.40C – 2.80C. Take a look at what this temperature means for humanity and our planet.
- Lock commitments to USD 100 Billion annual climate finance: this commitment was made in 2009 to developing countries to support their climate action – it’s never been met.
- Glasgow COP26: Pledges from COP 26 need to turn into concert action e.g. halt, reverse deforestation, restrain methane emissions, phase out coal, align the finance sector to net zero, among others. At present these are still only words.
- Global stock-take on climate action 2023: Next year, our global progress on climate action will be release at COP28 in the UAE. COP27 is key to shaping the vision for COP28.
My two cents: This is disconcerting. Perhaps our hope lies with humanity/people and communities instead. Either way, I’m adding survival skills, first aid and disaster response trainings to the new skills I need to equip myself with.
The Biden-Harris administration has a new approach towards Africa south of the Sahara which ‘reframes the region’s importance to US national security interests.’ (p.4, US Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa).
From a US-strategic context, Africa:
- Will have ¼ of the world’s population by 2050
- Has vast natural resourcesg. 30% critical minerals the power the modern world, the world’s 2nd largest rain forest, after the Amazon rainforest (Congo rainforest).
- Is situated along major sea lines of communication and trade.
- Represents the largest global voting block (28%) in the UN and other multilateral institutions and Africans head several of the most important global institutions e.g. WHO and WTO. The region also holds 3 non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council.
- And its AfCTA will be the world’s 5th largest economy.
- Is critical to the US and its allies from a political, economic and security perspective. While China sees the region as an arena to challenge rules-based international order, advance its narrow interests and weaken US relations on the continent. Additionally, Russia sees the region as an accepting environment for private military, fomenting instability for Russia’s financial and strategic benefit.
The 5-year strategy (published August 2022), has 4 objectives to advance US priorities with regional partners:
- Foster Openess and Open Societies: US interest is to ensure the region remains open and accessible to all, making the region more inclined to work with the US. The US will aim to increase transparency, accountability, freedom of press, fight digital authoritarianism, counter corruption and support reform. They will support independent judiciaries, electoral process and mitigate illegal constitutional change. Assist African countries to leverage their natural resources for sustainable development and global open, reliable supply chains.
- Deliver Democratic and Security Dividends: US aims to stem authoritarianism, military takeover and work with the African Union on democratic performance. The US will back civil society to build vibrant democracies and leverage diplomatic, development programmes and defense tools to respond to drivers of conflict. They will also prioritise counter-terrorism to protect the US, its people and facilities be it unilaterally (where relevant) or in partnership with key allies.
- Advance Pandemic Recovery and Economic Opportunity: US support for the region’s equitable recovery will be essential in regaining Africa’s trust in US global leadership, US trade and investment and creating US and African jobs. They will prioritise efforts to address the C-19 pandemic, health security and building capacity to tackling infectious diseases. On economy, the US will promote stronger growth and debt sustainability for the region’s economic recovery, rebuild human capital and food systems weakened by C-19 and the Ukraine war.
- Support Conservation, Climate Adaptation and a Just Energy Transition: the US will use its influence, development assistance and finance to help the region adapt, build resilience to climate impacts and promote mitigation strategies for a sustainable and low-carbon future. They will partner with governments, civil society and local communities to conserve, manage and protect the continent’s rich natural eco-systems, as well as combat wildlife trafficking and illegal fishing. The US will work with countries to pursue energy access and economic development through technology and harness US and African private sector investment for energy transition and economic development; as well as work with governments to respond and scale adaptive capacity. They will also pursue public-private partnership to develop and secure critical minerals needed for global energy transition – this includes countries enacting reforms in mining to allow for world-class investment in critical minerals.
After 3 decades of US policy, the strategy highlighted that the US Government is committed to revitalizing and modernizing its traditional state craft tools to advance US interests in a changing continent.
My two-cents: Here’s hoping that Africa’s leaders and the African Union are up to the task of protecting and delivering sustainable, inclusive, prosperity for Africans.
Earlier this month, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) launched its 2022-2030 strategy for the private sector (corporates and SMEs) on business climate change solutions.
The strategy identifies key actions needed by the private sector for Kenya to achieve its climate change targets, and is a basis for private sector decision-making related to climate change.
The strategy prioritises 4 pillars:
- Climate change mitigation
- Climate change adaptation and resilience
- Climate information and capacity building
- Public-private partnerships for Climate Change
The private sector will face significant risk and exposure from climate change – to people, assets, operations, supply chains, and more. All businesses must take action to mitigate these risks as well as focus on new business opportunities for a sustainable and green economy.
The strategy also adds to Kenya’s climate change commitments to the global community at COP 27. Recently at the COP27 meeting, African business leaders (from 56 companies) signed up to the Africa Business Leaders Climate Statement committing to Sustainable Development and ambitious climate action for Africa.
My two-cents: Business must take its leadership role in solving our environmental, social and economic challenges and opportunities. All fingers together, make a fist.