Pan-African campaign launched to promote climate justice ahead of COP27

Ahram Online , Friday 29 Jul 2022

Pan-African social agency, Crtve DEVELOPMENT (CD), launched the WE!ARE initiative to build a pan-African voice on climate justice ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) slated for November in the Egyptian Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh.



The WE!ARE movement aims to inspire young people across the continent to share their vision of the Africa they want to see and voice the climate justice demands of their communities through creative mediums, a statement by the CD said on Friday.

The movement is championed by emerging and established creatives, policymakers, designers, visual artists, auditory artists and community leaders across Africa.

Collectively, the WE!ARE champions and supporters of the movement will shape the broader narrative of climate justice and centre important policy issues for the respective communities and nations leading into COP27 and beyond, according to the statement.

"With COP27 poised to take place in Egypt in November 2022, there has never been a better time for the continent to raise its voice in climate discourse. While contributing the least to climate change, the African continent is the hardest hit by the global climate crisis," the CD's statement added.

It is estimated that up to 118 million impoverished people will be exposed to drought, floods and extreme heat in Africa by 2030 if adequate response measures are not put in place, the statement added, citing Josefa Sacko, the AU commissioner for rural economy and agriculture.

The agency warned that those with the least capacity to cope and adapt to these impacts of climate change will face the most significant threat. 

Okito Wedi, founder and CEO of Crtve DEVELOPMENT, said despite the profound repercussions of climate change on the African citizens, climate justice remains one of the least understood and socialised policy themes in contemporary African development.

"Through the WE!ARE campaign, we want to harness the power of art and creativity to change the narrative on climate change and development in Africa and bridge the gap between communities who will most be affected and policymakers who will determine our climate future," he added.

To further highlight the importance of climate justice in Africa, Crtve DEVELOPMENT, in partnership with Africa No Filter, issued a call-out for creative participation in WE!ARE showcases that will resemble climate justice under the theme of "The Africa We Want To See."

Creative hubs in participating countries were invited to apply for grants to curate pop-up showcases and creative installations as well as the execution of three workshops using art and creativity as a tool for social change in local communities. 

Following a rigorous selection process, five hubs were selected in Egypt, South Africa, Mozambique and Nigeria, respectively, the statement added.

In Egypt, Perform Arts, which provides a training and educational service for performance arts, will organise a showcase focusing on maritime pollution and the disappearance of shorelines near Alexandria consisting of a photography exhibition in the Citadel of Qaitbay in Alexandria.

Music and singing will be integrated with storytelling to describe the environmental impact on human life, the CD added.

In preparation for the showcases, which will kick off in September 2022, all creative hubs will attend online and in-person training workshops to equip them with practical advice on climate-related policy education, community participation and media skills development.

Egypt has vowed to speak for the continent's aspirations in addressing the impacts of climate change at the COP27.

Egypt and the African Union are seeking to develop a unified vision for energy transformation in the continent ahead of COP27.

Hopes are pinned on COP27 to turn climate-related pledges into action to help facilitate the move to green energy in order to reduce harmful gas emissions and adapt to climate change as per the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement – adopted at COP21 and signed by over 190 states including Egypt – came into effect in 2016 with the aim of limiting the rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Climate finance has been debated at every COP meeting since as developed countries have failed to meet their promise to mobilise $100 billion annually by 2020 to help developing nations with mitigation and adaptation measures.

Africa produces no more than three percent of the world’s total greenhouse-gas emissions that cause global warming, according to experts.

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