African Climate Summit 2023: No Climate Justice without Gender Justice

As Nairobi’s vibrancy reaches a crescendo, the world remains fixated on the Africa Climate Week taking place at the heart of the city.

In light of this African women in all their diversities met in Nairobi to launch the first ever, Africa Women and Gender Constituency and unpack their relieved experiences that have disproportionately impacted their lives and livelihood.

Traditionally, African women have been excluded from climate mediation efforts, but this is set to change because the Africa Women and Gender Constituency group will now make their demands known through collective action.

Speaking during the launch, Memory Kachambwa, the Executive Director of the African Women’s Development and Communications Network, said “We cannot talk about a just transition when women are not at the centre. We want decisions on climate justice to be all inclusive because we have all been affected by the climate crisis,”

Additionally, Lorraine Chiponda from Don’t Gas Africa said, “African women have been affected and pained by the climate disasters. Africa therefore does not have the luxury to adopt the false solutions such as climate markets and climate off settings. We, need solutions now!”

Reiterating the same, Mildred Ngesa, a reknown Pan African feminist and journalist said, “We want climate justice but we also demand of gender justice,”

“African women have suffered the loss and damage from the climate crisis and their perspectives must never overlooked. We cannot have climate justice without gender justice!” added Ngesa, “African women know where the shoe pinches,”

Notably, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2023 report underscores that effective climate governance is enabled by inclusivity. The report also notes that women are susceptible to multiple risks related to the climate crisis and recommends that actions that prioritise equity, climate justice, social justice and inclusion need to be considered while supporting transformative change and a climate resilient development.

The Africa Women and Gender Constituency group is therefore well poised to discuss the challenges African women in all their diversities encounter. The group also seeks to consolidate their asks and table them to key decision makers ahead of COP 28 set to take place in Dubai.

“With the power of our collective voices we can dismantle oppression and remove the colonial structures of racism and patriarchy that inhibit climate crisis,” said Dr. Melania Chiponda, the Gender Advisor of the African Activists for Climate Justice

“Africa is our business and climate change is African women’s priority,” said Miriam Nthenge a human right advocate.

“In sisterhood and solidarity, we are smashing patriarchy, colonialism, capitalism, neoliberalism, and imperialism for climate and gender justice,” lauded Sarah Nannyondo Okello from Akima Mama wa Afrika while addressing the session.

“Africa Climate Summit should focus on inclusivity at policy formulation level,” said Yvonne Muya from SHE Nature

Paradoxically, Irene Asuwa an Ecological and community mobilizer and organizer, said, “The Africa Climate Summit has nothing for us, we have to have alternative spaces to air out our challenges,”

Asuwa maintained that “The Africa Climate Summit has been chaotic, and people have already lost confidence with the intention it had,”

The Africa Climate Week seeks to amplify the voices of Parties from the African continent, bringing their collective voice to the negotiation table at COP28 and pushing for positive outcomes that drive meaningful shifts on both regional and global scales. Whether this will be accomplished is left for time to decide

The aforementioned was written and compiled by Imali Ngusale . The photo was taken by Wambui  Gichobi. For more information on FEMNET’s advocacy work on climate action contact Aileen Ajiwa and Dr. Melania Chiponda

The article was also published by the Africa Science News, click here.

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