By Lenah Bosibori
Speaking during the third day of the Africa Climate Summit (ACS) in Nairobi, Priscilla Achakpa, and the Women Environment Programme in Nigeria said that women need a fair share of grants, not loans and public financing as they are among the most affected by the climate crisis.
“For those who still doubt the reality or severity of the climate crisis, we are here to share the stories of how it is affecting African women, our societies, our livelihoods, our well-being, and our economies today. It affects our health, our cultures, our heritage, and our traditions,” said Achakpa.
The Summit provides an opportunity for African Union member states and supporting partners to call for action against the devastating impact of climate change and global warming on several regions of the world and Horn Africa.
It has brought together global leaders, intergovernmental organizations, regional economic communities, United Nations Agencies, the private sector, civil society organizations, indigenous peoples, local communities, farmer organizations, children youth, and academia.
“We are deeply concerned by the destruction of forests and communities in Congo, just as we are deeply troubled by the appalling state of women and children in ‘camps’ resulting from extreme weather events in Mozambique, Malawi, Kenya, and Nigeria.
Achakpa said that African women’s voices should never be an afterthought. “African women constitute the majority of the people on this continent, therefore, climate debates, discussions, decisions, and actions must be led by women.
She shed light on how women and young girls struggle with unpredictable weather patterns. “Africa has the least representation of women in global climate change policy processes, all African governments must intentionally support the participation and engagement of women in all aspects of climate policy” added Achakpa.
The women also called for a rejection of false solutions on the land that are designed to create private profit and legitimize the lack of ambition in cutting emissions by the global north saying that Net zero is not real zero and carbon markets and geoengineering are false solutions that harm the land and people.
“Commit to delivering on the 2003 Maputo Declaration to domestically finance the agriculture sector by allocating at least 10% of African countries’ national budgets,” said Achakpa.
She added that Africa’s food and nutrition security can only be achieved through gender just and Pan- African policies and solutions that protect indigenous farmers and traditional farming systems from commoditization.
“Engage actively and systematically African citizens and communities in climate change awareness programs and climate actions to ensure community ownership of climate actions, especially in adaptation, just transition, and disaster risk reduction efforts, “added Achakpa.
To the Global North and Polluters, the African women urged them to cut their emissions by phasing out fossil fuels now, a step back from the colonial era mindset.
“Multilateral spaces must embrace the ideals of collective leadership and end the overt and covert dominance of the global north. African governments and other global south governments have the right to equal decision-making power in the multilateral process,” added Achakpa.
“We, African women, commit to stand in our power to free ourselves and our communities from the exploitation of existing economic and social systems that have contributed to the crises we are currently fighting,” said Achakpa.