EXCLUSIVE: Activists petition Africa Climate Action Summit 2023
Civil society, animal, and environmental activists have petitioned African leaders ahead of the Africa Climate Summit 2023, scheduled to take place in Nairobi from September 4 to 6.
The conference, themed ‘Driving Green Growth and Climate Finance Solutions for Africa and the World,’ has garnered attendance confirmation from over 15 heads of state from across the continent.
Concurrently, the Africa Climate Week is scheduled to occur from September 4 to 8.
Through a Pre-Africa Climate Summit held in Nairobi this week, activists representing animal and environmental spheres have urged leaders not to exclusively focus on fossil fuels as a means to mitigate the climate change crisis.
The advocates, led by the World Animal Protection (WAP), insist that the discussion should also encompass food production systems since their approaches contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions.
The domestic and wildlife animals watch, for instance, cites 34 percent of Carbon emissions released by animals, which is a crisis in waiting which if not addressed will cause intensive damage to the ecosystem.
“The level of carbon gas emissions from animals is notably high,” Mr Tennyson Williams, the WAP Africa Director warns.
Although the African continent only contributes a mere 3 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, it bears the burden of the climate crisis.
Animal and food production systems are largely accountable for this, as the devastating impacts of climate change continue to affect the global community.
Activists are calling for the leaders at the Africa Climate Summit 2023 to diversify their agendas and address the crisis holistically.
Mr Williams states, “The discourse on climate change has primarily centered around energy transition for an extended period. As African civil society and activists, we advocate for the acknowledgment of animal agriculture’s significant contribution to climate change issues. It is disheartening to realize that Africa is disproportionately affected by the climate catastrophe, yet it contributes little to the gas emissions.”
During the Pre-Africa Climate Summit, the animal and environmental activists presented their recommendations to the Kenyan government, urging that the communique should be conveyed to the heads of state during the Africa Climate Action Summit in Nairobi.
The pre-conference theme was ‘Towards Humane, Sustainable, Regenerative, and Climate-Friendly Livestock Production Systems.’
Acknowledging the detrimental effects of climate change on African communities and natural resources, leading to shortages of food and water, altered precipitation patterns, and increased frequency and intensity of climatic extremes, Ismael Faheny who represented Ambassador Ali Mohamed, Kenya’s Climate Envoy, encouraged climate advocates to boldly challenge leaders and offer resolution mechanisms to address the crisis.
Considering that Africa heavily relies on factory or industrialized farming systems to combat food shortages, Mr Ismael emphasized the necessity of reviewing and redirecting food systems.
This, he said, would provide farmers with opportunities to thrive and be justly rewarded for their work.
“Increased food insecurity threatens the progress made in terms of income, education, and health improvements. These severe humanitarian and economic consequences have fueled conflict and extensive migration within and out of Africa. Therefore, we must unite to protect our environment,” he urged.
Mr Ismael advised farmers to adopt regenerative agriculture innovations and technologies for the sector’s sustainability and growth, necessitating a re-evaluation and transformation of their current farming methods.
The civil society and animal activists also seek to present their recommendations to COP28, scheduled to be held in Dubai between November 30 and December 12, 2023.
They are advocating for the support and empowerment of smallholder farmers by directing climate action funds towards them, as they suffer the most from the devastating effects of climate change.
In Africa, smallholder farmers are estimated to contribute 70 percent to the continent’s food basket.
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