African civil society calls for concrete action to address climate change in rare unison

Tuesday 04 October 2022
Benin's national caravan in the village of So-Ava. Photo credit: Carin Karl Atonde

The African Climate Caravan will make its voice heard at the Climate Change Summit (Dakar) and the Pre-COP (Kinshasa).

More than a hundred African civil society organizations are currently traveling across 28 countries on the continent to Egypt to present their Joint Declaration calling for more climate justice, a few weeks before the COP 27 in Sharm-el-Sheikh.

Together, the 28 participating countries expect their Heads of State and Government to defend the interests of their own populations, in particular by supporting the agro-ecological transition and protecting the rights of farming communities by preserving natural environments and by demanding greater accountability from emitting countries to finance adaptation measures on the continent. The proces, they emphasize, must promote better representation of youth and women in decision-making bodies.

They also call on the rich countries to live up to its climate commitments from the Paris Agreement - including mobilizing $100 billion a year for climate action in developing countries through 2025 (a target that was missed by $16.7 billion in 2020) - and to take its fair share of this climate crisis that particularly affects the African continent.

This movement of unison reflects the magnitude of the climate crisis in Africa. The continent is facing an unprecedented hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa and West Africa - 66 million people are facing hunger in part because of droughts that are becoming more frequent and severe as rainfall becomes more erratic and unpredictable.

As a report released last week by Oxfam reminded us, rich countries' aid to West Africa to cope with climate change is insufficient and is dangerously increasing debt levels.
The African Climate Caravan will continue its journey in the next few days in Senegal and in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the Climate Change Summit and the Pre-COP, under the name of its continental campaign, "Drum beating towards COP 27".

These two events bring together officials, institutions, national coalitions, civil society representatives and especially youth movements.

"Until recently, the hushed corridors of discussion forums such as the COP excluded from their perspectives those who were most affected by the climate emergency, yet least responsible. Now we want our stories to be heard, but also our aspirations and ideas. And governments around the world have a duty to listen to us and to act," explains Séna Alouka, director of the Young Volunteers for the Environment (YVE) Togo and coordinator of the Caravan along with other partners.

After having organized numerous awareness-raising and rallying activities in their respective countries, the caravaneers will publicly unveil, on Tuesday, October 4 at 12:00 p.m. UTC during an online press conference, their Joint Declaration which they will hand over to the
many political decision-makers they meet along the way.

"The National Caravans are also an opportunity to mobilize local populations and remind them that changes in their local environment have global causes. Because we know that all of Africa - through its communities, countries, and ecosystems - is paying the price of global inaction when it has contributed the least to climate change," said Azara Remalia Sanogo, Oxfam in West Africa's food and climate justice advisor.

Through testimonies, field actions, debates, but also its influence work, the African Climate Caravan intends to increase the pressure on national governments and during international negotiations. It hopes to contribute to a stronger, more dynamic and more sustainable climate justice movement on a global scale.

Notes to editors: 
  • An online press conference will be held Tuesday, October 4, 2022 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. UTC. Moderated by: Anne-Cécile Bras, journalist at RFi, "C'est pas du vent" program.
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  • The Joint Declaration of the national climate justice caravans will be presented to you at the press conference on Tuesday, October 4.
  • The Week of Sustainable Mobility and Climate - which will also host the Climate Chance Summit - will take place from October 3 to 7, 2022 in Dakar (Senegal). The Senegalese Prime Minister and the Ministers of Transport and Environment will attend. Other ministers and elected officials from the continent will also be present, as well as several institutions (World Bank, African Development Bank, etc.). This event will be an opportunity to present the general movement initiated by the African Climate Caravan, the national mobilizations, and to exchange on the issues of climate justice. It takes place on October 4th from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm UTC in the King Fahd Hotel in Dakar. A common declaration of the 28 countries participating in the Caravans will also be unveiled on this occasion.
  • The pre-COP will take place from 3 to 5 October 2022 in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo). The event aims to bring together all stakeholders in international negotiations to ensure the final adjustments before the COP. A delegation of the African Climate Caravan will be present to deliver its messages and demands to the officials, particularly concerning climate financing for the adaptation of populations and the coverage of loss and damage. On this occasion, the President of the African Union, the President of the Negotiating Group of Least Developed Countries at COP 27 and representatives of the African Group of Negotiators are expected.
  • The 28 countries participating in the African Climate Caravan are: Burkina Faso, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Malawi, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
  • Audio, video and graphic content, as well as testimonials, are available upon request. They tell not only about the progress of the National Caravans in the 28 countries, but also about the personal stories of people impacted by climate change, or who are bringing solutions locally.
  • Some of the activities proposed by the Caravans: meetings with authorities to hand over advocacy documents, visits to agroecological farms managed by women's collectives, conferences on pastoralism or peasant seeds, talks, simulations of international negotiations, parades, artistic sensitization to climate change, etc. You can follow the National Caravans on the website:
  • Spokespersons are available in English, French and local languages in all participating countries.
  • The study "Climate Finance in West Africa" published on September 27, 2022 by Oxfam shows that rich countries and multilateral donors have so far mobilized only 7% of the estimated $198.88 billion that West African countries need by 2030 to address the climate crisis. Moreover, 62% of climate finance is provided in the form of loans that will have to be repaid, mostly with interest.
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Spokespersons are available in French and English and are spread throughout the participating countries.

Audio, photo and video content can be provided upon request, as well as the Joint Declaration.