One Planet Summit to focus on climate change

one planetOne Planet Summit will be held in Nairobi on 14 March 2019, focussing on crucial point about climate change

The summit will illustrate the core truth at the heart of the climate change debate that global warming has an impact on everyone on the planet.

The summit will showcase Africa’s strengths as a vibrant place for climate innovation and investments with advances in sustainable business models, climate-smart agriculture, green bonds and renewable energy.

This is a response to Africa’s disproportionate burden as the result of climate change, the complex shifts that affect our planet’s weather and climate systems. Climate change encompasses not only rising average temperatures but also extreme weather events, rising seas, and shifting wildlife populations and habitats.

Already the hottest continent, Africa is expected to warm up to 1.5 times faster than the global average, causing longer, more severe droughts, raging storms and floods and unpredictable rainfall. This will make it harder for African farmers to grow key crops such as wheat, rice and maize, thereby endangering food security. Add to that the expected population spurt in Africa, the youngest continent, and the challenges are daunting. According to a UN report, Africa will have an additional 1.3 billion people by 2050. Most of the growth will happen in the cities, posing a challenge for African governments to ensure smart and sustainable urban planning.

Monica Juma, cabinet secretary in Kenya’s Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, said, “We’ve begun to frame Nairobi as the world global environmental capital.” She indicated that Kenya was determined to upscale discussions on the sustainable use of natural resources in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.”

A lot of jargon has been thrown around – better land management, biodiversity protection, the promotion of renewable energy and the need to foster resilience and adaptation among populations vulnerable to the effects of climate change. These are not merely symbolic for Africa. They are substantial. The continent is uniquely placed in the climate change debate. It has both immense challenges and extraordinary opportunities.

About 20 per cent of the African continent is covered by forests, including the world’s second-largest tropical rainforest, the Congo Basin Forest, known as the “green lung of Africa.” As President Kenyatta will say in his call to action at the One Planet Summit, “forests constitute a resource of great economic, cultural, spiritual and scientific value whose disappearance would be irrecoverable.”

The One Planet Summit seems to be built for innovation. Unlike other, more crusty United Nations climate change conferences, this summit is young. It was born on a wing and a prayer in December 2017, when Macron hosted more than 50 world leaders in Paris to celebrate the anniversary of the UN climate compact agreed in the French capital in 2015. America’s newly elected president Donald Trump had announced the withdrawal from the Paris pact of the United States, the world’s second biggest polluter after China.

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