Africa Speaks up on Climate Change

Africa Speaks up on Climate Change


Africa Speaks up on Climate Change

January 10, 2008
Africa is the continent that will be hit hardest by climate change. Unpredictable rains and floods, prolonged droughts, subsequent crop failures, and rapid desertification, among others, have in fact already begun to change the face of our continent.

Africa’s poor and vulnerable will be particularly hit by the effects of the rising temperatures - and in some parts of the continent, temperatures have been rising twice as fast as in the rest of the world as i.e. depicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In wealthy countries, the looming climate crisis is a matter of concern, as it will affect the wellbeing of the economy. But in Africa, which is hardly contributing to climate change in the first place, it will be a matter of life and death. Therefore, Africa must not remain silent as rich nations fight over ways to stop climate change. Africa must speak up against activities that accelerate the looming climate crisis, and it must do so loud and clear!

We Africans wish to remind world leaders that they have a moral responsibility to do two things immediately: Stop and reverse the trend of global warming! Greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut rapidly. We must not allow the global temperatures to rise no more than 2 degrees centigrade above the level that we had before the industrialised countries started to burn coal and oil.

Support measures of adaptation, so as to assist Africa’s poor to live with the effects of global warming the signs of which are already visible! Shield them from the worst consequences of the climate crisis! Current efforts on both fronts are insufficient to meet the challenge facing us. Decisive action must be taken now.

We call upon the leaders of the industrialised countries to cut back greenhouse gas emissions now. They have the obligation to lead by example and thus to help design a future climate regime, paying attention to the fact that the industrialised countries are largely responsible for climate change and must take the most decisive steps to combat it. As the main polluters, the industrialised countries also must support Africa to reduce her vulnerability and increase her capacity to adapt to climate change. The industrialised countries have to put in place mechanisms that raise steady and reliable funds for the victims of the climate crisis. In this connection, we recognise and appreciate the recent initiative of the British government to support Central African countries with 50 million pounds in their efforts to protect and conserve the Congo Basin forest ecosystem.

We call upon the leaders of the major emerging economies to opt for a cleaner path to development and use their weight in the international arena to reduce the impact of climate change. We urge them to walk a climate-friendly development path, use energy efficiently and invest in renewables, which is also a smart way of shielding their growing economies from oil price shocks and creating a sustainable future.

We call upon African governments to prioritise climate change, raise awareness about it, prepare their countries for the necessary adaptation and allocate sufficient resources to this purpose to mitigate against it. Immediate action and commitment ought to be directed towards protection of African forests and their biodiversity, and to afforestation efforts. It is for this reason that we should embrace the Billion Trees Campaign. This will contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions, and is vital to enhance the resilience of Africa towards the unavoidable results of climate change.

We call upon African governments at the level of the African Union to collectively negotiate on the international level and appoint a Joint High Level Ambassador on Climate Change and Clean Energy.

We call upon the African people and the media, both in Africa and an in other parts of the world, to raise their voices on climate change and become a driving force in the global fight against the climate crisis.

Signatories of the appeal are:

  • Wangari Maathai, Kenya, Nobel Peace Prize Laureat
  • Ato Mulualem Birhane, Ethiopia, Farmer
  • Negusu Aklilu, Ethiopia, Director, Ethiopian Forum for Environment
  • Tewolde Egziabher, Ethiopia, Environmentalist
  • Sidi el Moctar Ould Waled, Mauritania, Agricultural Cooperative Tenadi
  • Achilles Byaruhanga, Uganda, Director, Nature Uganda
  • Peter Okoth Mireri, Kenya, Environmental Director, OSIENALA Friends of Lake Victoria
  • Obiero Onganga, Kenya, Director, OSIENALA Friends of Lake Victoria
  • Mensah Todzro, Togo, Environmentalist, Director, Amis de la Terre Togo
  • Samuel Nguiffo, Cameroon, Forest Activist, Amis de la Terre Cameroun

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