President Uhuru Kenyatta told world leaders that Kenya will be a steadfast champion of the interests of African countries and the South as a whole on climate change at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
The president said Kenya would particularly focus on creating a “compelling case for the nexus between climate change and security”, noting that the phenomenon “was worsening and complicating new and old conflicts across the world. “.
To avert a looming climate crisis, President Kenyatta urged world leaders to take “bold mitigation and adaptation steps,” saying recent scientific evidence pointed to disaster.
“The evidence is irrefutable. All reports, including the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), sound the alarm that the world risks facing a global catastrophe unless leaders change course on climate change. We must urgently implement bold mitigation and adaptation measures to avert the looming crisis, ”President Kenyatta warned.
The Kenyan head of state spoke Monday afternoon in Glasgow, Scotland, where he delivered Kenya’s national statement at the World Leaders Summit of the 26th United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) co -organized by the United Kingdom (United Kingdom) and Italy.
At the meeting also attended by the world’s greatest marathoner of all time, Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, the president said climate change is an existential threat to most African countries, stressing that extreme weather is costing Kenya averages 5% of its GDP in addition to fueling food shortages. and conflicts over livelihoods in the country.
“In Kenya, extreme weather events, including floods and droughts, cause losses of 3-5% of our GDP per year. In addition, they worsen food insecurity and trigger conflicting intra-community and inter-country competition for resources, ”he said.
Once again, President Kenyatta, who arrived in the Scottish capital on Sunday evening, reminded developed countries to honor the US $ 100 billion a year funding commitment for climate change adaptation programs in developing countries. development.
“Twice in a row, developing countries have been promised US $ 100 billion a year, but this has yet to be delivered,” President Kenyatta said, adding that Kenya expects the COP26 proposes a work plan for the implementation of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
“Finally, we expect that the detailed rules and procedures for the implementation of the Paris Agreement will be finalized and that a clear path forward for a climate resilient path will be defined. We also hope that the agreement will be inclusive enough to take into account the needs and priorities of developing countries and in particular, the particular circumstances of Africa which were very ably put forward earlier and very well articulated by Elizabeth Wathuti. “, Said the president, in a statement. reference to a previous presentation by Kenyan environmentalist and climate activist Elizabeth Wathuti.
President Kenyatta challenged developed countries to invest more in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and regretted that Africa’s proposal on special needs and circumstances had been taken off the agenda. of COP26.
“Across Africa, as the continent most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, countries are already suffering loss and damage of increasing magnitude and frequency.
“We are therefore deeply concerned to learn that yesterday during the adoption of the agenda of this conference, the point on the special needs and circumstances of Africa was once again not adopted.
“We expect the Co-Chair to undertake full and comprehensive consultations and respond to the special needs and circumstances of African states and effectively report to us before the close of the conference session,” said the Chair. .
Regarding Kenya’s climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts, President Kenyatta said the country is implementing a strong climate change strategy that has led it to invest heavily in sectors such as energy renewables, sustainable blue economy and green manufacturing.
“The plan includes a commitment to restore degraded water towers, accelerate forest restoration and increase forest cover to at least 10 percent of our area, promote a sustainable blue economy and green manufacturing.
“As many of you know, Kenya is a pioneer in the energy sector. We are among the eight (8) world leaders in geothermal energy development and are home to the largest wind energy project in Africa, ”said President Kenyatta.
In his speech, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on world leaders to act quickly on climate change, warning that failure to contain rising air temperatures would lead to the submersion of several cities due to the rise in the level of the sea.
Mr Johnson agreed with President Kenyatta that COP26 was a historic turning point the world must seize to avoid a global climate catastrophe.
“It’s one minute to midnight and we need to act now. If we don’t take climate change seriously today, it will be too late for our children to do it tomorrow, ”said the British Prime Minister.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guteress has warned world leaders that failure to act decisively on climate change would be disastrous for humanity.
“Either we stop it, or it stops us. It is time to say enough. Enough of killing us with carbon. Enough of treating nature like a toilet. Enough of burning and drilling and mining our way deeper. We are digging our own graves, ”Guteress said.
US President Joe Biden, whose country joined the Paris Climate Agreement earlier this year after withdrawing from the pact in 2020, echoed other world leaders saying the Glasgow meeting was “a rare opportunity for all leaders to work together and save humanity from the existential threat of climate challenge.”
“We are in a growing catastrophe; I believe there is an incredible opportunity not only for the United States, but for all of us. We are at an inflection point in world history, ”President Biden said, calling for collective global efforts to meet the challenge.
“Climate change is the challenge of our collective lives – the existential threat to human existence as we know it. And every day we delay the cost of inaction increases.
“It’s a decisive decade. We can maintain the 1.5 degree centigrade target if we unite, if we are committed to doing our part. Glasgow must be the start of a decade of ambition. No nation can protect itself from threats, ”said the American leader.