Target people-centred action, Okonjo-Iweala tells African leaders

Former Nigeria’s Finance Minister and Co-Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has asked the African Heads of State to target people-centred climate action.

She said people-centred climate action aims to unlock social and economic benefits to further equity, and ensures a just transition away from a high-carbon economy.

“This can include measures such as restoring ecosystems in ways that also raise rural incomes, reduce emissions, and build resilience; or using revenues from carbon pricing to better target support to low and middleincome households,” she said.

Okonjo-Iweala in a message tagged “Now is the time to put climate change on the African Union’s agenda” shared on her social media handle and addressed to Heads of State at the concluded African Union (AU) Summit, said using these savings or revenues to invest in secure clean water and sanitation services for the poorest in Africa can help achieve key development goals.

While noting that 2020 is also a critical year for climate action when countries are urged to enhance the ambition of their climate commitments, she said the current commitments fall short of the Paris/agreement.

The former minister said while African countries have not created the climate crisis, they are some of those that are most vulnerable to climate impacts. “By 2050, climate change could force more than 86 million people to move across countries in sub-Saharan Africa,” she said.

She urged the Heads of State to identify opportunities where African countries can lead on climate action whilst achieving both development and climate targets is critical to deliver social benefits.

“2020 provides a unique opportunity for African leaders to simultaneously address the risks of political instability, pressing development needs, and the impacts of climate change,” she said.


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