SACAN is part of the Climate Action Network (CAN), a worldwide network of over 1300 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in over 130 countries / Blog  / 2023  / Position Statement and Advocacy Expectations for the African Climate Summit in Nairobi, Kenya 4th – 8th Sep. 2023

Position Statement and Advocacy Expectations for the African Climate Summit in Nairobi, Kenya 4th – 8th Sep. 2023

The African Climate Summit is a significant regional gathering that brings together leaders, stakeholders, experts, and advocates across Africa to address pressing climate-related challenges and opportunities. This summit is a platform for dialogue, knowledge sharing, policy discussions, and collaborative action to advance climate resilience, sustainable development, and environmental protection in Africa.

Climate Action Network South Africa (SACAN):
Climate Action Network South Africa (SACAN) is a dynamic body of civil society organisations, community groups, and individuals committed to advocating for ambitious climate policies and promoting sustainable practices in South Africa. SACAN is a powerful voice for climate justice, emphasising the interconnection between social equity, environmental protection, and climate resilience. Given South Africa’s unique vulnerability to climate impacts, SACAN has advocated for transformative policies prioritising vulnerable communities and ensuring an equitable transition to a low-carbon future.

Climate Action Network South Africa (SACAN) recognises the paramount importance of active participation in the African Climate Summit Week as a critical step toward advancing its mission and contributing to the broader climate action agenda on the African continent.

Here is the context highlighting the need for SACAN’s engagement:

    • Amplifying Voices and Advocacy: The African Climate Summit Week is a unique platform for SACAN to amplify its advocacy efforts and voice the concerns, priorities, and solutions of South African civil society organisations and communities. Active participation allows SACAN to bring attention to pressing climate issues affecting the country and the region.

    • Regional Collaboration and Solidarity: SACAN’s involvement in the African Climate Summit Week fosters collaboration and solidarity among African nations. By engaging with stakeholders from across the continent, SACAN can share its experiences, learn from others, and contribute to shaping regional climate policies and strategies.

    • Influencing Decision-Making: Active participation enables SACAN to directly engage with policymakers, government officials, and international organisations attending the summit. By providing evidence-based insights, recommendations, and solutions, SACAN can affect local, national, and regional climate decisions.

    • Showcasing Best Practices: SACAN’s presence at the summit allows it to showcase successful climate initiatives, projects, and campaigns that have been effective in South Africa. Sharing these best practices highlights the organisation’s accomplishments and inspires other African countries to replicate similar efforts.

    • Strengthening Partnerships: The African Climate Summit Week offers a valuable opportunity for SACAN to forge and strengthen partnerships with other civil society organisations, research institutions, and climate advocates from different countries. Collaborative partnerships can amplify collective impact and promote knowledge exchange.

    • Capacity Building and Learning: Engaging in summit workshops, panel discussions, and knowledge-sharing sessions provides SACAN members with valuable capacity-building opportunities. Learning from experts and peers equips SACAN with insights and tools to enhance its climate advocacy strategies.

    • Contributing to Global Agendas: The African Climate Summit Week aligns with global climate agendas, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations. Active participation allows SACAN to contribute South African perspectives to these international discussions, influencing global climate policies and agreements.

    • Raising Public Awareness: By participating in the summit, SACAN can generate public awareness about the urgency of climate action and the organisation’s role in advocating sustainable solutions. Media coverage and public engagement during the summit week can amplify SACAN’s outreach efforts.

    • Holding Leaders Accountable: SACAN’s presence at the summit provides a platform to hold government officials and decision-makers accountable for their climate commitments and actions. Through open dialogue and advocacy, SACAN can encourage greater accountability and transparency in climate governance.

SACAN’s Participation in the African Climate Summit

Our active participation in the African Climate Summit Week is an essential opportunity to advance our advocacy agenda, engage with stakeholders, and contribute to shaping meaningful climate action in South Africa and across Africa. Through its involvement, SACAN can drive positive change, elevate its role as a climate advocate, and help accelerate the transition to a more sustainable and resilient future.

The African Climate Summit focuses on a wide range of climate-related issues, including but
not limited to:

    • Climate Adaptation and Resilience: The summit addresses strategies and to help African countries adapt to the impacts of climate change, including droughts, floods, extreme temperatures, and changing rainfall patterns. Discussions often revolve around building resilient communities, infrastructure, and ecosystems.

    • Climate Mitigation and Emission Reduction: Participants explore pathways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote cleaner, more sustainable energy sources. It discusses renewable energy adoption, carbon pricing, and sustainable land use practices.

    • Biodiversity and Conservation: The summit highlights the importance of preserving Africa’s rich biodiversity and ecosystems, discussing measures to protect endangered species, promote sustainable agriculture, and ensure the equitable use of natural resources.

    • Climate Finance and Funding Mechanisms: Deliberations on climate finance involve exploring ways to secure funding for climate-related projects, capacity-building initiatives, and sustainable development efforts in African countries.

    • Capacity Building and Knowledge Sharing: The African Climate Summit offers opportunities for capacity-building workshops, technical training, and knowledge exchange sessions to empower local communities, governments, and organisations to tackle climate challenges effectively.

    • Policy and Governance: Discussions may touch on policy frameworks, regulations, and governance structures needed to implement effective climate action at the national, regional, and continental levels.

    • Community Engagement and Advocacy: The summit often emphasises the importance of involving local communities, indigenous groups, youth, and civil society in climate initiatives, fostering bottom-up approaches and community-driven solutions.

    • International Cooperation and Partnerships: The African Climate Summit allows African nations to collaborate with international partners, organisations, and initiatives to address global climate goals and commitments.

The African Climate Summit is a critical forum for fostering collaboration, raising awareness, showcasing best practices, and influencing policy decisions to accelerate climate action in Africa. By bringing together a diverse range of stakeholders, the summit contributes to building a more sustainable, climate-resilient future for the African continent while contributing to broader global efforts to combat climate change.


SACAN’s Position Statement

We, the Climate Action Network South Africa (SACAN), representing a coalition of civil society organisations, community groups, and individuals committed to ambitious climate action, welcome the convening of the African Climate Summit in Nairobi. As we gather on this crucial platform, we recognise the urgency of addressing the climate crisis in Africa and the need for collective action to safeguard our continent’s people, ecosystems, and future generations while enabling current generations with adaptive capacity.

Advocacy Expectations

Equitable Climate Solutions: We expect the African Climate Summit to prioritise equitable and local climate solutions that address the unique vulnerabilities and challenges African communities face. That includes advocating for policies and initiatives that ensure marginalised and vulnerable groups are at the centre of climate action and decision-making.

Enhanced Climate Ambition: We call for a firm commitment to improving climate ambition across Africa, urging governments to strengthen their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and take bolder steps toward emissions reduction, fossil fuel phase-out, renewable energy adoption, and sustainable land use practices.

Resilience and Adaptation: The summit should emphasise the urgent need to enhance climate resilience and adaptation measures across the continent. We advocate for increased support to build resilient communities, safeguard food security, and protect ecosystems from the impacts of climate change.African nations find themselves at the forefront of climate impacts, bearing the brunt of these changes in often severe and immediate ways. Climate change operates as a threat multiplier, intensifying challenges that countries across the continent already face. With Africa grappling with various socioeconomic issues, including poverty, inequality, and infrastructure gaps, climate change exacerbates these vulnerabilities, further straining resources and resilience. The urgency to address climate change is an environmental imperative and a moral obligation to support the well-being and future of millions of people in Africa and worldwide.

Climate Finance and Funding: We expect the summit to address the critical issue of climate finance, urging governments and international institutions to scale up financial support for African nations. That includes prioritising accessible and transparent funding mechanisms for climate adaptation, mitigation, and technology transfer. It also includes strengthening these institutions’ governance structures and including community members in agreements.


Local Participation and Inclusion: The African Climate Summit should first champion the active participation of local communities, indigenous peoples, and civil society organisations in climate decision-making processes. We advocate for meaningful engagement that amplifies their voices and promotes inclusive climate governance.

Nature-Based Solutions: We call for a strong focus on African nature-based solutions, highlighting the role of healthy ecosystems, reforestation, and sustainable land management in mitigating climate change and enhancing community resilience. At the same time, we want to caution against over-reliance and marketisation of natural systems as a primary means of mitigation, bearing in mind the limits to which nature can address climate impacts.

Youth Empowerment and Education: The summit should underscore the importance of empowering African youth as key stakeholders and actors in climate action. We advocate for initiatives that provide youth with the tools, knowledge, and platforms to drive transformative change.

Gender Equality and Social Justice: We expect the summit to prioritise gender-responsive climate policies that address the unique impacts of climate change on women and promote social justice. That includes advocating for gender mainstreaming in climate initiatives.

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