Africa Experts Convene to Embolden Continent’s Agenda

The Africa Group of Negotiators Experts Support (AGNES) has convened experts in Nairobi, in preparation for delivering African issues in a contextualized manner in the forthcoming 7th Assessment Cycle (AR7). This strategic meeting brings together African experts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), representing more than 15 countries across the continent. These experts possess expertise in diverse fields within the global climate agenda.

Ranging from scientists to negotiators, the Africa experts highlighted crucial issues that must be addressed to find concrete solutions to unprecedented environmental crises on the continent. This initiative is highly significant as it underscores Africa’s assertive role in guiding effective climate action necessary for protecting livelihoods, and biodiversity, and addressing pollution challenges.

Through this convention, African experts aim to refine previously proposed strategies, building upon those from the 6th Assessment Cycle (AR6), to focus more specifically on unique challenges. This will involve bridging knowledge gaps aligned with the continent’s complexities. The AR7 is anticipated not only to emphasize climate action in response to unprecedented climate crises but also to initiate a conversation on bolstering urban resilience, crucial given the continent’s rapid urbanization rate.

Dr. George Wamukoya, Lead AGNES, emphasized the importance of aligning issues with Africa’s perspective to strengthen resilience in a targeted manner, particularly as the continent faces escalating climate change impacts alongside rapid urbanization. The convention aims to scope and draft an outline for a special report on climate change and cities.

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Dr. George Wamukoya, Lead AGNES

Dr. Wamukoya further stressed the imperative for Africa to contribute fully to knowledge generation and strategy formulation to build resilience and mitigate risks. He stated, “Through collaborative efforts and strategic planning, we can harness Africa’s expertise to drive impactful change and pave the way for a more sustainable future.”

The meeting has attracted a diverse coalition of stakeholders, including National IPCC focal points from different countries, IPCC officials, AR6 lead authors, and Africa experts from various climate-related domains. This underscores Africa’s determination to drive meaningful change amidst climate adversity and emphasizes the significant role of science in shaping global environmental policy, as highlighted during the recent 6th assembly of the UN Environmental Assembly (UNEA–6).

Eng. Festus Ng’eno, Principal Secretary of the State Department of Environment and Climate Change, praised the IPCC for its authoritative stance on the latest climate science. He emphasized the need for this science to be as representative as possible across countries to gain ownership among policymakers. Ng’eno also noted the necessity of addressing knowledge gaps to ensure that assessments capture Africa’s unique needs accurately.

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H.E Festus Ng’eno, Principal Secretary of the State Department of Environment and Climate Change

Additionally, Ng’eno highlighted the significance of producing a special report on cities in Africa, considering its rapidly growing population. Despite challenges in prioritizing adaptation measures for Africa, he viewed the focus on cities as a significant step forward.

Prof. Stephen Kiama, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nairobi, expressed the institution’s commitment to bridging gaps between science, policy, and practice through research efforts. He highlighted the university’s contribution to climate science, including the involvement of its lecturer, Dr. Lukorito Cromwell, as Vice Chair of the IPCC Working Group II for the AR7.

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Prof. Stephen Kiama, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nairobi

“Addressing climate change and its impacts require urgent, innovative, and holistic solutions that transcend generations and ensure the sustainability of human and ecosystem health and well-being in the face of daunting risks and uncertainties. This necessitates a multistakeholder and multidimensional approach,” Prof. Kiama concluded.

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