The Kenyan president Tuesday urged African leaders to unite and develop a common position to fight climate change ahead of this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).
Addressing a virtual meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council on climate change, Uhuru Kenyatta, who is this month’s chairperson of the council, told African leaders that climate change has had negative impacts on peace and security.
“Climate change is a key defining development and the foremost emerging security challenge of our time. It acts as a ‘multiplier’ of existing threats to international peace and security,” Kenyatta said.
“As African leaders specifically and global leaders more generally, we can no longer ignore the serious security challenges associated with climate change,” he added.
Kenyatta said that despite Africa contributing very little to greenhouse gas emissions, it is the continent that endures the most of climate change with many countries recording extreme weather patterns in form of frequent and more intense droughts and floods.
“As a consequence, our nations have witnessed more aggressive locust invasions, with far reaching consequences on the communities’ livelihoods, ecosystems, and infrastructure. These disruptive effects have significantly undermined the social economic development agenda of many countries in the continent,” Kenyatta said while underscoring the urgency of addressing climate change.
He announced that Kenya will implement a 10-year action plan that will see it to raise its tree cover to 10% by 2030. Kenya also will prioritize renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, and introduce climate smart interventions in the transport sector such as the Bus Rapid Transit system integrated with non-motorized transport for the capital city of Nairobi.
President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo assured Kenyatta of his country’s backing and that of the entire African Union during Kenya’s tenure on the UN Security Council.
African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, who also spoke at the meeting, echoed Kenyatta’s sentiments, saying Africa is the most affected by the effects of climate change and proposed the appointment of a special envoy to champion the climate change agenda on the continent.
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