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African climate advocacy groups want Santiago Network on Loss and Damage set up in Nairobi

African Non State Actors have condemned the decision of locating the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage in Geneva over Nairobi and want it recalled.

The African climate advocacy groups have warned that the Network that will be hosted by the UNDRR/UNOPs will fail to meet its objectives if the decision is not reversed saying this decision overlooks the purpose of the network and exacerbates the concentration of climate governance institutions in the North.

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The mandate of the Santiago network is to catalyse the technical assistance of relevant
organisations, bodies, networks and experts for the implementation of relevant approaches for averting, minimize and addressing Loss and Damage at the local, national and regional level, in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

An assessment was done where UNOPS-UNDRR strongly recommended Nairobi to the Advisory Board of the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage as the optimal location to host the Network based on their thorough analysis using scientifically-proven methodologies from a shortlist of five other locations.

The assessment process that was done early this year (2024) saw Nairobi emerge top with a score of 4.10 followed by Bonn that scored 3.85, Geneva and Brussels tied at 3.75 while Addis Ababa got a score of 3.25.

However, last week the Fund’s advisory Board picked Geneva in Switzerland over Nairobi, Kenya, rattling the global South.

In a statement, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) noted that decision will have far-reaching negative implication on Africa’s effort to deal with climate change.

“This analysis from UNOPs-UNDRR to the Advisory Board was blatantly and contemptuously ignored and the Board selected Geneva, which was ranked third in the analysis.” Stated PACJA. Adding that: “The board in its analysis turned a blind eye on what the network is meant to deliver, further concentrating institutions of climate governance, particularly on loss and damage in the North.”

The Executive Director PACJA Dr. Mithika Mwenda termed the decision as unjust and  disappointing. “It’s a betrayal of logic and fairness. Nairobi, a prime candidate according to UNOPS-UNDRR’s meticulous analysis, was unjustly sidelined in favor of Geneva, highlighting the disproportionate influence wielded by the global north in climate governance.” Said Dr. Mwenda.

Adding that: “This move underscores a systemic bias that sidelines the voices and needs of developing nations, who should be at the forefront of climate action.”

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, stressed that the developing countries deserve a seat at the table and the opportunity to lead in addressing the challenges of climate change.


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Obrien Kimani
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