Kenyan President William Ruto called Sunday (Feb. 19) for rich countries to be held accountable for driving global warming and for a revamp of international financial institutions to better fight climate change.
Poorer nations, especially those in Africa, have been hit disproportionately hard by the fallout from climate change, which has aggravated droughts and flooding, despite being least responsible for carbon emissions. In an interview on the sidelines of the African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, where climate change is a major topic, Ruto said the time was ripe for a "paradigm shift".
The situation "is not getting better unless something gives way and until we have an honest conversation", he said, urging richer countries and financial institutions to start treating Africa as "an asset" in climate talks.
"We want a system that is accountable, that holds the emitters who pollute the world to account. If it is not accountable, then it is corrupt," Ruto said, adding that Africa should not be treated as "beggars" in climate talks.
The latest round of UN climate talks held in Egypt last year agreed on a fund to cover costs that developing countries face from climate-linked natural disasters and impacts like rising sea levels. Yet activists say the fund remains empty.