Harare – African Union Chairperson, President Felix Tshisekedi of the DRC, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa are among five continental leaders recognised by the United Nations as “climate champions” for their decisive actions to tackle climate change.
The other three are President Ali Bongo Ondimba (Gabon), President Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), and President Muhammadu Buhari (Nigeria).
The recognition came on the occasion of Earth Day, marked annually on April 22 and this year themed “Restoring Earth”.
Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Ms Vera Songwe this week rallied the world to mainstream climate issues in post-covid economic recovery responses.
She said the five African leaders who received special mention were fast-tracking adoption of green energy through aggressive renewables uptake and conservation of peatlands that serve as carbon-sinks.
In its “Building Forward for an African Green Recovery” report, ECA called for revitalisation of public health interventions, augmentation of biodiversity conservation, and better ecosystems management, while emphasising economic diversification, closing the inequality gap and wealth generation.
“The eco-friendly recovery report looks beyond the unprecedented effects of the pandemic and urges Africa to adopt bolder measures to build forward better and stronger by embracing a vigorous home-grown Afro-Green Blue pact which accentuates intensive inclusive economic growth, green and blue fiscal pathways, environmentally sound policies, and low-carbon development trajectory,” Ms Vera said.
ECA director of technology, climate change and natural resources Mr Paul Adam added: “The mobilisation of finance to tackle climate change, in particular in relation to adaptation, is as urgent as ever. African advocacy to ensure that previous commitments are honoured will be critical.
“Debt issues are a rising challenge in the context of the pandemic where fiscal space for all African countries continue to be constrained.”
He went on, “The ECA is also working with partners to further develop financing opportunities through market-based mechanisms, including through green or blue bonds.”