(Bloomberg) -- The African Union proposed that the International Monetary Fund consider issuing $650 billion in special drawing rights to combat the climate crisis.

The 55-member group also demanded that at least $100 billion in existing SDRs be channeled to Africa through institutions such as the African Development Bank, with a group of donors to be established by the time the COP28 climate summit starts on Nov. 30. Multilateral development banks should be recapitalized to provide at least $500 billion in concessional finance a year, it said.

The list of demands in an updated declaration from the continent’s first climate summit are considerably stronger than an initial announcement on Sept. 7 in Nairobi, Kenya, which focused on debt relief and climate finance to fund renewable energy. Government delegations argued late into the night earlier this week on the wording of the statement that will serve as their unified position at COP28 in Dubai. 

“We call for collective global action to mobilize the necessary capital for both development and climate action,” the African Union said in the statement released on Friday. 

Africa, the world’s least developed continent, has barely contributed to the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change, but its nations are among the hardest hit by cyclones, drought and floods. That, coupled with a debt burden exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, is hindering economic growth. 

Fifteen African heads of state attended this week’s summit in Nairobi, according to information from the organizers. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, were also present.

Other changes from the earlier declaration include:

  • Mobilizing $30 billion to invest in water projects by 2030
  • Drawing attention to the “inordinate borrowing costs” levied on poor nations that are a “root cause of recurring debt crises”
  • A revaluation of the gross domestic product of Africa to reflect its natural capital such as carbon sinks in its forests.

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