FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 18 October, 2022
Contact: Zukiswa White, firstname.lastname@example.org
A coalition of African feminist activists has launched a set of collective demands for meaningful accountability and action for climate change ahead of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly referred to as COP27, to be held in Egypt from 6-18 November. More than 150 activists from countries across all five regions of Africa put forward 27 demands calling for increased ambition and action to meet climate change goals, while addressing the specific needs of African women and girls. Central to these demands are equity, representation and financing.
The demands were launched virtually and across various African cities ahead of the first climate summit to be held in Africa since 2016. While Africa accounts for the smallest share of global greenhouse gas emissions, at just 3.8 percent, it remains one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change.
“It is time for the leaders to prioritise the lives and needs of the people of Africa, especially those of women and girls, who are often hit hardest by climate impacts,” said Mwanahamisi Singano, Senior Global Policy Lead for the Women’s Environment and Development Organization. “The government delegates who are going into the climate negotiations need to understand that we are losing hope, and they need to restore that hope – not just for themselves, but for the next generation.”
The 27 demands cover six key areas of concern: women’s and youth leadership in climate processes, an equitable energy transition, climate finance, land rights, just technology, and intersectionality and interlinkages across development work streams.
“We want to see negotiations deliver a stand-alone financing facility for ‘loss and damage’–the negative effects of climate change that people cannot cope with or adapt to,” said Sylvia Dorbor, a UNFCCC Negotiator for Liberia. “In the last year alone, the African continent has seen major climate disasters, drought, floods and food insecurity. There is a historic and ongoing lack of support and compensation for the victims of climate change, who are disproportionately women.”
African climate advocates say the inadequate financing, and lack of support to fully address loss and damage and reparations for historical environmental injustices, continue to mark the principal ways the climate negotiations have failed to meet developing countries’ needs. Last year, the proposal for a dedicated funding mechanism for loss and damage was at the top of the political agenda, but was blocked by wealthy countries like the United States and members of the European Union. This year, loss and damage is on the provisional COP27 agenda–and advocates continue to call for it to be included in the official COP agenda.
The coalition is also calling for an equitable energy transition that urgently shifts from a fossil fuel-based economy to investments in safe and clean energy.
“We need to challenge our assumptions that what may be appropriate in developed economies can be applied to the African context,” said Faith Lumonya, Economic Justice and Climate Action Lead at Akina Mama wa Afrika in Uganda. “Across Africa, more than 597 million people don’t have access to electricity and almost 60% of medical clinics lack access to a consistent flow of electricity. So while a shift to renewables is prudent, it is also about building a future that ensures equitable access to and affordability of sustainable energy resources for all.”
Despite facing multiple challenges and structural marginalisation, African women, girls, and Indigenous Peoples are leading the work to care for the natural environment and fight climate change. First on the coalition’s list of demands is “equal representation and meaningful engagement of women, girls, people with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, and youth in their diversity at all climate change processes at global and national levels.”
“When we talk about representation it is about more than numbers; it is meaningful representation and inclusion,” said Nada Elbohi, an Egyptian feminist and youth advocate. “It is bringing the priorities of African women and girls to the table.”
About the Coalition
In January 2022, a small group of African Feminists, mostly advocates with long-lasting engagement with the Women and Gender Constituency, started the African Feminists Taskforce for COP27. The Taskforce’s aim is to mobilize African feminists ahead of COP27 to be hosted in Egypt, and ensure African feminists’ voices and demands, aspirations, and vision are centered in COP27 processes and outcomes. In April 2022, a public call was made to expand representation and ensure inclusivity of the Taskforce. To date, more than 150 feminists are part of the African feminist’s Taskforce. The membership of the Taskforce is open to everyone identifying as a feminist from Africa.