By Kennedy Mugochi, Regional Director, Hivos East Africa
As women and girls are most affected by climate change, Hivos expected the summit would announce concrete plans for gender equality and women’s empowerment, not just make a cursory mention of women, youth and Indigenous communities. Especially since women’s needs were so clearly articulated by the First Ladies’ declaration. Women deserve a seat at the negotiation table, not as spectators, not as beggars or flower girls, but as equal participants.
The summit’s declaration likewise ignores the elephants in the room – oil and gas – where most new energy investment in Africa is set to flow. This risks locking Africa into a fossil fuel dependent trajectory that will only saddle African countries with stranded assets and huge debts and do little to tackle the climate crisis.
This declaration will support industrialization, but without any plan to ensure that rural women, youth and Indigenous communities, who are already being left behind, are better served. Just 10% of climate finance goes to local initiatives and programs, which the summit showcased as the most impactful climate solutions, yet there is no plan to address this contradictory injustice.
We support African leaders’ calls for debt relief, fair global tax rules, and massively increased climate finance. Without more resources, Africa has little chance of surviving the climate emergency. But we need leaders to make transparent commitments to use these funds for inclusive, local, people-led development. The declaration leaves too many loopholes that would let “green” investment perpetuate the failed models of the past that have impoverished so many African women and youth.