The Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina Mohammed has called for Africa to be "at the center" of the climate action agenda, and for increased finance to the region to ensure that Africa can grow its economy in a sustainable way. It was at the third instalment of the One Planet Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, a meeting convened by President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, President Emmanuel Macron of France, Interim President of the World Bank Group, Kristalina Georgieva, and herself.
"We have said that Africa bears the brunt of climate change and yet it has the least contribution to it, but what today is about is to make sure that as Africa grows, we don't end up contributing to climate change and that we have a chance to grow green and not to grow brown", she said.
Mrs. Mohammed called for public and private investors to increase the financial flows to help developing countries take climate action. "The figures are not adding up. We tell the world we need trillions but the investments flows are not travelling at the speed and scale we need", she said.
In this regard, she welcomed the announcements made in Kenya by the African Development Bank Group that announced it will double its climate finance commitments by 2025, up to at least $25 billion, and the World Bank Group that announced new plans to scale up climate action in Africa including $22.5 billion in new finance.
"We know that the two banks will not give the trillions that are needed but certainly, the fact that you are talking about scaling up, about the need for more investments on renewable energies, it means that we can leverage funds from the private sector to go from the billions to the trillions", she said.
The Deputy Secretary-General called on everyone's responsibility to take more ambitious climate action, recalling the words of UN Secretary-General António Guterres who has said that climate change is running faster than humanity. She stressed the importance of the upcoming Climate Action Summit that the Secretary-General will host on 23 September in New York and where nations and non-Party stakeholders are expected to put forward more ambitious commitments for climate action in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
Mrs. Mohammed underlined the importance of the participation of youth and in particular young women and girls in the climate agenda and the need to provide them with the capacity and skills necessary for that participation. "Youth are not the future, they are now. And it should not be for them but with them. They need a seat at the table", she said.
The One Planet Summit brought together global leaders, entrepreneurs, international organizations, and civil society to help accelerate and focus attention on climate investments in line with the Paris Agreement. The Summit took place in parallel with the fourth UN Environment Assembly, and preceeded the Africa Climate Week, another key climate action event for the region that will take place in Ghana, Accra, on 18-22 March.