Civil society and grassroots groups across Africa staged a sit-in and protest action at the exhibition centre of the UNFCCC COP 26 in Glasgow to demand that African delegates attending the negotiations reject handouts and instead advance real solutions to the climate crisis.

The gathering which had civil society from West, East, Central and Southern Africa, also drew the attention of media representatives from Global North and South.

The action included the display of key messages on placards, solidarity songs and speeches delivered by civil society leaders from the continent.

Aderonke Ige, Associate Director at Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) said: 

“Africa is on the frontlines of the climate impacts though it is the continent that contributes the least to the climate crisis. Unfortunately, at the COP the real solutions that Africans want, have been pushed to the background and replaced with false solutions such as net-zero and carbon markets. African delegates must listen to the voice of the people back home facing the real impacts of this needless delay in advancing real solutions”

Emem Okon, KebetKache Women Development Center said:

“I come from Port Harcourt in Nigeria where oil impacts have only created environmental hazards including soot that is everywhere in our communities. Soot is now in our air, our waters, and our houses. People are falling ill and cancers rates among natives are growing. That is why we are insisting that fossil fuels must end”

Geoffrey Kamese of Uganda National Association of Coalition for Health said:

“In East Africa, we are now facing drought, invasion of locusts and other climate-induced conditions that affect agriculture which is the main livelihood of our women. This crisis that our people are not responsible for is causing a food crisis”

Ndivile Mokoena, GenderCC SA – Women for Climate Justice, said:

“The most common climate change impacts in South Africa are floods and droughts that affect mostly the agricultural sector which is the cornerstone of many poor communities who are daily losing their livelihoods, the sense of dignity and right to life due to the ravages of climate change to the sector. We call upon world leaders and governments to desist misleading the world by using the nature-based solution terminology, which is pure greenwash and profit-making ploy as it does not reduce emissions at all. We demand agro-ecological transition that promotes fair and sustainable systems that respect people’s food sovereignty through eco-system based approaches.”

Younoussa Abbosouka, Advocacy Officer, African Center for Advocacy, said:

“Africa contributes only 2-3% of the greenhouse, but the continent is likely to bear the brunt of the effects of climate change. The continent’s path to climate adaptation and mitigation cannot be the same as the Global North that promotes Net Zero.”

Earlier, Philip Jakpor, Director of Programmes, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa explained that the gathering was to amplify the unified position of Africans on the climate crisis ravaging Africa, to nudge delegates attending the COP to advance real solutions.

Reading out the African Civil Society Position Paper, Aderonke Ige of CAPPA said the recommendations from civil society were clear and achievable if the right political will is there. The position paper urges African delegates attending the COP to:

  1. Challenge and reject pledges made by polluting corporations and governments to achieve “net-zero” emissions, which are being used to shift additional burdens onto the African region and avoid responsibility for their role in the global share of emissions to date.
  2. Commit to achieving Real Zero emissions reductions, embracing the concept of equity (each country does their fair share).
  3. Reject industry-driven attempts to ram through rules enshrining market mechanisms into the center of Paris Agreement implementation, via the guidelines for Article 6.2 and 6.4 of the Paris Agreement.
  4. Governments across the region must come up with real climate change plans (adaptation and m mitigation) and reflect the same in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
  5. Secure concrete outcomes advancing policies to implement real solutions via Article 6.8 of the Paris Agreement.
  6. Advancing a strong argument to commit industrialized and wealthy countries to provide adequate climate financing for the implementation of its adaptation and mitigation plans.
  7. Ensure that the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of African countries are independent of false solutions and corporations’ influences, but rather accommodate workable and home-grown climate solutions on mitigation and adaptations.

By Younoussa Abbosouka
Advocacy Officer, African Center for Advocacy (ACA)
Phone: +237 657720275