Day 1 Report from CHOGM and the People’s Forum by Isaac Aboah

Day 1 Report from CHOGM and the People’s Forum by Isaac Aboah

Our team of representatives at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda have been busy attending the different forums and events. Luckily, they’ve also had time to write a few thoughts and reflections down for us as well and this is on top of all of the great photos and videos we’ve received. Below, CHEC representative Isaac Aboah shares his reflections and highlights!

Isaac’s Personal Experience

Rwanda is a beautiful, green and serene country with very hospital people. I had a great flight and a relatively seamless travel experience to the hotel. The panels themselves have been great, diverse and intense. Abhir and Badaro have been great colleagues. Lunch with Mark was superb; a great storyteller! (He should probably write a memoir).

Summary of Events

Climate Justice and Leadership for Change in the Commonwealth 

This session focused on discussing the gaps in adaption, resilience and more particularly loss and damage that affect countries in the global south. The conversation challenged bigger countries and organisations that have played major causal roles to take responsibility by honouring pledges and leading the charge to bring equity and justice to the climate conversation. 

Highlights

War is damaging efforts of Climate Change 

  • The Russia-Ukraine war has shifted attention to energy security. Germany has commissioned new coal plants for short terms needs, against net-zero ambitions. 
  • There’s a need to quantify the environmental impact of the war to track how it has negatively affected the fight against climate change
  • War shifts attention from prevention. 

Anchoring climate justice in solutions 

  • Understanding climate justice as a foundation of climate change; history, equity, responsibility and action. Countries and corporations who have caused the most problems should take a bigger responsibility 
  • Examples of just solutions; are solutions that ensure that no one is left behind. The Caribbean contributes less than 0.2% to climate emissions.  The Caribbean leading action in energy. Just transition is more difficult for the poor. Not too many solutions because the flows of finance promised have not come
  • The executive arm of government should have the political win to make bold implantations. 

Climate Justice and Equity demands financing to scale up

  • Countries need private financing at scale in the net-zero transition. 
  • Climate finance should be thought about more broadly beyond mitigation, adaptation and resilience. 

Actions towards Just Transition 

  • Mobilisation funding 
  • Transition needs Tech. Africa is being denied technology like the sales of electric cars. Technology should be holistic. 
  • Up-skilling to meet the needs of the green economy and empower young people to lead the way
  • Banks and financing of startups and industries 

Getting political Will

  • Move conversation beyond climate change as an environmental problem and view it as a socio-economic cultural security health problem so that the finance ministry and other key government ministries treat it as a national problem.
  • Bringing global standardisation in carbon pricing.  Biden promised American companies $185 per ton as against 5 per ton for African countries by the carbon markets. 

Health and Climate: Meeting the Immediate Challenge of Financing

Highlights 

  • Responsibility of lenders in standardising interest rates and reducing bias toward Africa.
  • Finance inequity is deliberate. Tax presents the most sustainable way to finance development. 
  • Developing innovative ways of taxing the rich 
  • Harmonizing cross-border standards to fight against tax competition that favours global corporations in Africa. 
  • Commonwealth’s role should be to facilitate the opening of finance streams already available or replenish them.
  • Keep the value of resources crucial to the fight against climate change like Cobalt on the continent as against the history of exporting it. 
  • Use the forum as a catalytic space for climate transformation  and move from the extractive nature of the commonwealth to collaboration 

Moving Forward

  • Engaging civil society 
  • Transfer of technology
  • Integrate Lessons learn 

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