The African Feminist COP 27

The inaugural Feminist COP took place in Windhoek, Namibia from the 21st to 23rd of October 2022 amid rapid and intensifying climate changes in the African continent. The convening was as a result of collaboration between FEMNET, Christian Aid, Oxfam Pan-African Programme, Natural Justice, the African Youth Commission and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA). It was attended by over 50+ pan-Africanists, ecofeminists, activists, representatives of indigenous and marginalized communities, and climate justice advocates from frontline communities in Cameroon, DRC, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Tunisia, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

The novel Feminist COP27 was convened in Namibia in the wake of the 10th Climate Change and Development in Africa Conference (CCDA X). Taking into consideration the patriarchal structural impediments that mute feminist voices, the Feminist COP  was an opportune space for the overlooked to be revered and lauded. The COP was a chance for African women in all their diversities to make the official 2022 COP a necessary turning point for action on the climate emergency.

While addressing the convening, Memory Kachambwa, the Executive Director of the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) urged participants to own their convictions as they prepare for the COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh. With reference to the Climate Change Gender Action Plans (ccGAPs), she urged the participants to define the feminists agenda and construct an unapologetic collective narrative on the status of African women.

Contending on the need to break the bias, Anne Songole, the Climate Justice Coordinator at FEMNET underscored that women bear the brunt of the climate crisis, yet they hold reliable knowledge for sustainable climate solutions. In her view, women’s involvement in the climate justice space is minimal, and there are structural barriers impede their participation in key decision-making spaces. “This presents a major obstacle to the realization of climate justice as eco-feminists,”

Retrospectively, Yolanda Mulhuini a participant from Mozambique underscored that women’s full and equal participation in decision-making processes has to be a top priority. Mulhuini emphasized that women ‘s voices must be included in climate negotiations spaces.” She insisted that women are most affected by climate change today but are least involved in the design and implementation of climate response actions.”

Notably, at COP27 Parties agreed to increase the participation of women in all UNFCCC processes, delegations and in bodies constituted under the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement. Unfortunately, the disproportionate exclusion of women has been exhibited in previous COPs.

“It is sad that the global south is made to plant trees to tackle carbon emissions yet we are victims of an environment that has been destroyed by others. Everyone should be responsible for tackling their emissions.” Lamented Dr. Melania Chiponda, the Climate Justice and Gender Advisor at FEMNET. She urged governments to go after big commercial companies which are depleting forests and make them “replenish them”.

The convening ended by issuing ensuing key demands to the African Governments:

On Transition to low carbon economies:

    • Advance a just transition as a common position for the continent that centers an eco-feminist future for African women and girls in all their diversity, in policy and decision-making.
    • Hold historical and current high GHG emitters accountable for ending fossil fuel pollution and demand a halt to any new extractive initiatives in Africa.

On Debt and Climate Finance:

    • Uphold and defend progressive policy considerations on loss and damage and commit to a dedicated fund for loss and damage beyond the general adaptation funds.
    • Apportion climate financing to local and indigenous climate solutions that promote food sovereignty and sustainable renewable energy.
    • Endorse unconditional and debt-free climate financing that is gender-responsive, flexible, and multi-year.
    • Develop progressive and radical tax justice policies against corporations, including accountability for minimum and living wage labor compensation.
    • Collectively demand debt cancellation, reparations for colonial debt, and historic and ongoing emissions which have funded and continue to fund the development of the global north.

On Meaningful Engagement and Participation:

    • Foster meaningful and equitable representation of women and girls in all negotiations and decision-making, including frontline community women leaders.
    • Facilitate meaningful engagement of civil society pre-COP as well as post-COP to enhance accountability.
    • Resist corporate capture! Demand for the exclusion of multinationals from COP negotiations.

We CALL on all state parties to the UNFCCC to:

    • Prioritize continent-wide land reforms which promote equitable access to and control over land by women, including ownership and control of the food ecosystem.
    • Invest in and promote locally led, gender-just, and feminist climate solutions and movements that are anti-capitalist, decolonial, and collectivized.
    • Support the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the Context of Climate Change and call on this office to institute effective mechanisms to strengthen the protection of environmental human rights defenders and accountability for abuse, reprisals, and violations by states and corporate actors.

The online conversations that emanated from the convening were curated via the #AfricanFeministStories and can be retrieved here. This article is collectively crafted by African Feminists which includeed  Nesia Mhaka and Marvel Powerson and published by  Imali Ngusale,  the communications and knowledge management support who can be reached via . For more information, contact: Anne Songole : and/or Dr. Melania Chiponda

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