Today 9/11/2016 marked the Africa Women’s day at Conference of Parties (COP) 22 currently taking place in Marrakesh, Morocco.
The day began with a session at the Women Gender Constituency, the theme was ‘African Women demand gender just climate action at COP 22’. The key speakers included Commissioner Winfred Lichuma, EBS Chairperson of the NGEC which is the secretariat for the Africa Working group on gender and climate change (AWGGCC), Hon Winfred Masiko, member of parliament for Uganda and also a member of the AWGGCC, Priscilla Achakpa representing Women 2030 Nigeria, Semia Gharbi of North Africa, Faustina Baokye of West Africa and Benoudji Collette of Central Africa. The discussions stressed the importance of involving women and men in adaptation and planning of climate change initiatives in Africa. What emerged from the plenary discussions was the importance of adequate capacity building, technical and financial support, that is country driven to ensure promotion of resilient and sustainable climate smart initiatives. Commissioner Lichuma emphasized the need for inclusion of all special interest groups as we deliberate on climate change initiatives. “There is a need to involve all people; women, youth, persons with disability, indigenous peoples as we discuss on climate change. We need to advance the discussion from the global to the grassroots. Nothing for us without us,” Commissioner Lichuma remarked.
The day came to an eventful conclusion as the AWGGCC held their side event at the African Pavilion hosted by the Africa Union Commission. The side event consisted of a dialogue that encompassed two sessions. Commissioner Winfred Lichuma gave a comprehensive presentation on the gender related implications of the Paris Agreement. It was clear from this side event, that Africa is not lacking in capacity but that there is need to incorporate women and youth in various decision making bodies, to ensure that their voice is heard. ‘African women and youth need to work side by side to advance climate smart initiatives in Africa’, she reiterated.
The Africa Union (AU) represented by Mrs Olushola remarked that the AU were taking positive measures in ensuring that the women and youth are included in most decisions. She reflected on the Committee of Heads of State and Governments on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) meeting held in June 2016 that highlighted the need for Implementation of the CAHOSCC women and gender program on climate change (CWGPCC) and the CAHOSCC Youth program on climate change (CYPCC).