Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Addis Ababa Meeting Consolidates African Unity on Climate Change

A three-day training workshop on climate change bringing together 60 participants from 19 countries (17 of them from different parts of Africa) has made far reaching resolutions and recommendations in the run up to the COP 17 summit in Durban, South Africa.

The African Civil Society Consultative Cum Training Workshop took place from the 15th to the 16th of October 2011 at the UN Conference Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, sponsored by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) and hosted by the Ethiopian Civil Society Network on Climate Change (ECSNCC).


The workshop had two moderators- Dr. Geoffrey Manyara of the Kenya Climate Change Working Group, and by Mr. Augustine Njamnshi, from the Cameroon Climate Change Working Group and PACJA Representative for Central Africa.
The main speakers at the workshop were Youba Sokona, Head of African Climate Policy Center (ACPC) who gave the key note address; Thuli Makama, Yonge Nawe (Friends of the Earth), Swaziland) who spoke on  the nexus between climate change and development as well as the notion of climate justice, elements of science and equity-based response to climate change, using a rights-based approach for climate-conscious development; Dr Habtemariam Abate, Executive Director of Sustainable Land Use Forum and Co-chair of ECSNCC, Ethiopia who gave a presentation on building climate movement and telling African story; Augustine Njamnshi, Cameroon Climate Change Working Group and PACJA Representative for Central Africa; Noah Zimba, Climate Change Network, Zambia who gave an overview of where Africa was in the climate change negotiations; Trusha Reddy , Institute for Security Studies, South Africa whose paper was on financing climate change in Africa and governance challenges; Geoffrey Kamese of NAPE/CAN in Uganda; Nelson Muffuh, from the UN Millennium Campaign, Cameroon who made the link between COP17 and Rio+20 exploring areas of  convergence, opportunities and challenges; Dr. Patrick Bond of the Center for Civil Society, University of Kwa Zulu Natal, who provided an update from South Africa civil society  in regards to the COP 17 mobilization; Mithika Mwenda, PACJA Cordinator, who mapped out  the key activities for COP17including the Trans-African Caravan of Hope, inside and outside activities and the overall calendar of activities leading to the summit itself ; Mohammed Adow, Christian Aid from the UK who reflected on  the next steps to attain best outcomes for Africa out of COP17; Noah Zimba from Zambia who gave the way forward; Dr. Fekeda, former Nigerian Climate Negotiator and Co-Chair of the Nigerian Climate Working Group who gave an electrifying speech to inspire the participants and Dr. Habtemariam Abate who provided the closing remarks.


11 technical papers were presented under the following thematic areas set out in the workshop programme:
  • Providing a platform for participants to network, share experiences and strategies that will enable them to participate in dialogue processes such as the first African climate and development conference and be part of the efforts to sustainably address climate change in the communities they live in;
  • Identifying and defining the action agenda for African civil society formations and mapping out other stakeholders-including policy makers, parliamentarians, government negotiators and regional economic blocs- involved in building a strong and unified voice for Africa ahead of COP17 in Durban and beyond;
  • Building on the Bamako effort and laying out a collective action for active involvement in the larger climate change process in the period up to, during and beyond COP17, including Rio+20.
At the end of the workshop, participants agreed to pursue three main broad and general actions:
1.    Enhancing local, regional, continental and global engagements which sustain awareness and raise demands for climate justice;
2.    Securing clarity on what individually and collectively must be done towards the COP17 contribution;
3.    Strengthening intelligence, due diligence and unity for climate justice.
The three day Addis Ababa meeting also resolved to carry out the following specific actions:

·   -Engaging with the African heads of state, ministers and other political structures  to raise the climate justice agenda;
·   -Engaging with the negotiators to recall AMCEN commitment and pursue the climate justice agenda;
·    - Reflecting on concerns on salient implications and threats of COP17 being described as an “African COP” while raising awareness with the AMCEN decision within African continental structures;
·  -Naming and shaming the polluters and increasing pressure on those developed countries and entities opposed to the climate justice agenda;
·         Collaborate with allies in the North and around the world for mass actions;
·      -Accelerate media partnership in order to highlight the concerns of Africans around the issues of climate justice;

In the lead up to the Durban summit, participants agreed to work in concert in mobilization and campaign towards the success of the COP 17 meeting. They resolved to harness common areas and reduce competition between the two legitimate caravans traveling across the continent to South Africa. The meeting also agreed to finalize on the practical logistical details including securing the needed resources and rolling out and harmonizing the petition and signature campaigns on climate change across Africa. In pursuit of the above, there was a need to plan and execute country specific activities in relation to the caravans.
There was also broad agreement on the key messages to go into the petitions. Three broad themes were identified:

1.   1)  Keep Africa and the world safe and prevent catastrophic climate change. Exert pressure on developed countries and ensure that they sign up to legally binding commitments that reduce emissions and limit global warming to well below 1.5°C;
2.    2) Share the effort of curbing climate change fairly. Demand domestic emission reductions by developed countries that are commensurate with science and equity, and enable a just transition in all countries;
3.    3) Ensure polluters not the poor must pay. Developed countries must honour their obligations and pay at least 1.5% of their GNP to help the poor adapt and develop cleanly and sustainably.

The participants left the Ethiopian capital better informed, more inspired and above all, with a greater spirit of unity in terms of pushing the African agenda in the ongoing global discussions, negotiations and struggles around climate change and climate justice.

By Onyango Oloo, PACJA Media Team

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