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Nairobi ready to welcome One Planet Summit to Africa

The third One Planet Summit will make its debut in Africa this week, hosted in Nairobi, Kenya on 14 March. The summit will showcase Africa's strengths as a vibrant place for climate innovation and investments with advances in sustainable business models, climate smart agriculture, green bonds, and renewable energy.
Nairobi, Kenya. Image source:

Said French President Emmanuel Macron, “We have all the means to act to fight against climate change. But one country or one business alone can’t save everyone. That’s why we need the international meetings and coalitions to coordinate our efforts and strike hard. We need to act now to achieve our main goal: reduce our production of carbon which destabilises the climate balance and causes impacts on our security and health. The next months will be full of opportunities to strengthen our joint effort and to create new partnerships.”

Impacts of climate change on Africa

Africa’s vast ecological wealth and unique natural ecosystems are especially susceptible, which is why Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta will launch a call to action at the summit “to prevent, halt and reverse the loss of Africa’s forests”. Already the hottest continent, Africa is expected to warm up to 1.5 times faster than the global average, causing longer, more severe droughts, raging storms and floods and unpredictable rainfall. This will make it harder for African farmers to grow key crops such as wheat, rice and maize, thereby endangering food security. Add to that the expected population spurt in Africa and the challenges are daunting. According to a UN report, Africa will have an additional 1.3 billion people by 2050. Most of the growth will happen in the cities, posing a challenge for African governments to ensure smart and sustainable urban planning.

This is the context within which Kenya’s decision to co-host the One Planet Summit and actively fight climate change becomes significant. In the run-up to the summit, Monica Juma, cabinet secretary in Kenya’s ministry of foreign affairs, said, “We’ve begun to frame Nairobi as the world global environmental capital.” She indicated that Kenya was determined to upscale discussions on the sustainable use of natural resources in line with United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The One Planet Summit will bring together key world figures, CEOs and civil society leaders, responding to the call to action.
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