21 October 2013
AFRICA CAN LEAD!
Civil Society Call for Urgent Ambitious Action on Climate Change
Civil society representatives from across the African continent urged Governments to take ambitious action against climate change. These were some of the recommendations during a Climate Justice Dialogue: shaping an equitable climate change agreement responsive to Africa ahead of the Third Climate Change and Development in Africa Conference (CCDA III) which runs between October 21 – 23 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Dialogue, which was also attended by former Heads of State, was organized by Pan African Climate Justice Alliance in partnership with Mary Robinson Foundation – climate Justice and World Resources Institute.
Participants, drawn from 23 African countries from diverse sectors such environment, indigenous peoples, small-holder farmers, women, youth and faith based groups came together to discuss climate justice narratives and to build alliances to propose strategies for African leaders and governments to get a fair deal for Africa at the international climate negotiations.
Speakers at the event, who included former President of Botswana Festus Mogae and former Irish President Mary Robinson observed that while the risks of climate change for future generations remain of major concern, the need to adapt and build resilience for the current generation cannot be ignored.
“The world’s most vulnerable people are already at the frontlines of climate change. They need strong political leadership now in order to help them with the weather shocks they’ve already faced, and to make them more resilient to the shocks which are yet to come,” said Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice. Speaking at the closing session Mrs Robinson said “We have an opportunity to right history. It is not that everything we have done on climate change to date has failed but implementation is inadequate. We need to engage champions to give transformative leadership, make the institutions we have more equitable and inclusive, and focus on implementation. This is climate justice, this is what the people Africa need from their leaders.”
It was further observed that any decisions made in dealing with climate change need to support the right to development.
“Climate change both highlights and exacerbates the gulf in resources between rich and poor,” said HE Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana. “But it is in the interests of Africa and it is in the interests of the international community to seize this opportunity for a new paradigm of sustainable development. In dealing with the climate crisis, we have an opportunity to develop a new world, based on the urgent need to scale up and transfer green technologies and to support low carbon climate resilient strategies for the poorest. African leaders working in collaboration could give the visionary leadership the world needs to transition to low carbon development.”
All speakers and delegates agreed that in order to achieve an equitable, ambitious international climate agreement, all stakeholders need to realise the injustice of climate change.
Speaking during the opening session of the workshop at the headquarters of the UN Economic Commission for PACJA, Secretary General Mithika Mwenda said that the growing climate change impacts require joint action by all, including nations, regions and sectors. “Climate change is happening, and it is real. We therefore need to fight it collectively,” he said. “Climate change has for long been limited to science, but we have realised that it is beyond that. It touches on human rights, equity, women, societies, indigenous people, and so on”
The key messages arising from the the event, organised by Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice and the World Resources Institute will be presented on Wednesday 23 October to the plenary of the CCDA III.
Background to the Climate Justice Dialogue
At COP 17 in Durban, governments agreed to launch a new round of negotiations that will result in adoption of a new agreement in 2015 under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. To capitalize on the promise of Durban and to build an atmosphere of trust and reciprocity between countries, issues of equity will have to be discussed and reshaped in an open and constructive manner. The World Resources Institute (WRI), Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) and Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice are facilitating the Climate Justice Dialogue to ensure that the new agreement is informed by science, considers the specific needs of the most vulnerable populations and catalyzes sustainable development.
For more information on the Climate Justice Dialogue please visit www.climatejusticedialogue.org.
Background to the Pre-CCDAIII Climate Justice Dialogue: shaping an equitable climate agreement responsive to Africa
Along with their participation in the ongoing third Climate Change Conference on Development in Africa (CCDA III), the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice and the World Resources Institute held a civil society workshop to articulate and reflect the concerns of African stakeholders in the context of domestic/international climate policies and global cooperative action on climate change.
The organizations have worked with the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) to ensure that equity is addressed in the agenda of CCDA III so that messages arising from the workshop will be able to feed into the Conference proceedings.