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Remarks by H.E. Hon. William Ruto During the Africa Leaders Event on Accelerating Adaptation in Africa

Joy Waweru | 2 weeks ago
Remarks by H.E. Hon. William Ruto During the Africa Leaders Event on Accelerating Adaptation in Africa
Remarks by H.E. Hon. William Ruto During the Africa Leaders Event on Accelerating Adaptation in Africa

Distinguished Excellencies, ladies, and Gentlemen,

1. Climate change has emerged as one of the greatest

threats to life on earth. It is also a very serious

challenge to human well-being globally, with particular

intensity on the African continent. The 6th Assessment

Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel

on Climate Change (IPCC) published in August 2021, has

singled out Africa as singularly vulnerable to climate and

weather extremes.

2. Such vulnerability poses serious adverse repercussions

for Africa’s precarious socio-economic systems, even

though the continent’s countries cumulatively contribute

only 4% of average global emissions. It is imperative

that urgent measures be taken to effectively cushion

Africa’s peoples, their livelihoods, economies and

communities and rapidly eradicate vulnerability. It is for

this reason that accelerating adaptation is a matter of

high priority throughout Africa.

3. The escalation of global warming is worsening climate

impacts, putting our countries at serious risk of

adaptation limits being quickly overwhelmed, leading to

unbearable loss and damage. Every slight increase in

warming has far reaching and often irreversible negative

effects. Warming at rates in excess of 1.5°C could

trigger multiple tipping points that would fundamentally

alter the Earth’s climate systems.

4. The NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) analysis

report released by the UNFCC secretariat in October

2022, indicates that the world has fallen far behind in

implementing agreed targets to minimize warming. As a

result of this failure, the declared aspiration to keep

temperature rise below 20C has not been realised.

Instead the rate of warming has overshot the target,

rising to 2.70C.

5. The UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report, 2022 corroborates

this, and confirms that given the insufficiency of current

efforts, warming will further rise to 2.80C. We are

staring at a runaway warming effect whose

consequences will certainly be unforgiving. The gravity

of the matter cannot be overstated. Our global situation

is dire. We must mobilise to do the right thing as a

matter of urgency.

6. There is no more room to ignore, evade or delay calls

for substantial cuts in emissions, especially by the big

emitters. Unless significant emission reduction is

achieved rapidly, the adaptation gap continues to widen.

7. In the last 12 months since COP 26 in Glasgow, extreme

weather records have been broken on every continent.

From the worst drought in 40 years currently ravaging

the Horn of Africa region, including Kenya, to the

devastating floods that hit Pakistan and more recently,

Nigeria, and the worst European drought in 500 years,

heat waves and wild fires in many parts of the globe, the

litany of disastrous climate impacts continue. These

calamities have been more pronounced and destructive

in vulnerable countries, especially in Africa.

8. The IPCC’s 6th assessment report paints a grim picture

going forward if urgent climate measures are not

undertaken now. The window for action is fast closing

and the onus squarely falls upon the current world

leadership to stand up as the generation that can be

counted on to take hard decisions but do the right thing.

We cannot afford to continue ignoring the urgent

warnings of science with impunity.

9. Effective response to climate change requires adequate

and predictable financing, capacity building, technology

development and transfer. Climate finance remains the

single most critical enabler in unlocking climate action,

and especially addressing adaptation in vulnerable

communities of the Global South.

10. Between 2019 to 2020 a total of USD 11.4 billion has

been made available to Africa for adaptation, against an

estimated need of USD 579 billion in adaptation

investment by 2030. Clearly, this level of financing falls far below what is required to build resilience in Africa. I

call upon the developed Parties to meet all their pledges.

This includes doubling of adaptation finance agreed

upon in Glasgow, and the urgent implementation of the

USD 100 billion commitment.

11. Quite clearly these funds are inadequate for the

purposes of adaptation in Africa as well as covering loss

and damage as confirmed by the IPCC 6th assessment

report. The report emphatically affirmed that loss and

damage is happening now, and I add that all the

phenomena that characterise or inflict loss and damage

have sadly become the lived experience of many African


12. Failure to redeem these pledges, therefore, implicates

the leadership of the developed countries of negligence

with dire humanitarian consequences. This is an action

moment, a financial moment and a moral moment for

global leadership. We must rise to meet it without


13. It is in this spirit that I therefore call for the speedy

capitalisation of existing climate finance mechanism, that

is: both under the convention and Paris Agreement. I

also call for the development of innovative modalities to

mobilise additional climate financing. The

operationalisation of carbon markets under article 6 of

the Paris Agreement would go a long way in this respect.

Finally, I emphasise the need for funding under these

frameworks to be adequate, timely and accessible in

order to be effective.

14. Successful adaptation is not about making incremental

or piecemeal investments. Rather, it is about

understanding, intending and doing development

differently. It is about systematically taking account of

both present day and future climate risks. Adaptation

and development are inextricably linked and reciprocal,

and credible adaptation action delivers considerable

development outcomes.

15. Accordingly, the achievement of Africa Union’s Agenda

2063 will require African countries to rapidly accelerate

the implementation of adaptation plans in line with their

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), National

Adaptation Plans (NAPs), and Sustainable Development

Goals (SDGs).

16. I urge all of us to make this COP, the implementation

COP. Let us all be mindful that we are in a potentially

existential moment, if not for all humanity, then, most

certainly for many communities, especially vulnerable

people in developing countries, including Africa. Our

negotiations are not all about hard-nosed bargaining of

financial commitments.

17. Due recognition of the distinct moral component

underlying our proceedings should convince us to tone

down hard, zero-sum positions, direct our focus to

collective problem-solving and enable us to develop

resolutions that will lead to a successful COP 27. As an

African COP, let us make Sharm El Sheikh the COP of

effective decisions, resolute implementation and

ambitious action.

I thank you all

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