Remarks of Mr Mithika Mwenda, Executive Director, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance Opening Statement
RCM for Africa Major Groups and Stakeholders
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
A very good morning to you all.
A time has come that we must speak, and speak we will. We will, however, not just speak, but direct our thoughts to ears that matter, ears of those that can act. Those that have a say in the policies that guide governance in the African nations.
It delights me to confirm your commitment and resolve to save this continent and the larger planet, as you have come here so that your voice can count as African governments chart the way forward for their voiceless people.
Your presence in this Regional Consultative Meeting is equally an indication of your willingness to solve Africa’s endless problems, which have magnified poverty and minimised human existence and development.
With this gathering, we have the opportunity to try new ways of ensuring that what Africans deserve to get from their governments is not only achieved, but sustainably so, through entrenchment of the right policies and laws.
This Regional Consultative Meeting gives us the opportunity to evaluate our past acts and decisions, and drop or modify strategies that have not worked before, while embracing those that will be more productive.
Our contribution to environmental sustainability is crucial to ensure sustainable development. For if we do not voice the African need, insist and persist, who will?
A lot of African countries will be having national elections in the next year. Opportunities present themselves here because these leaders, who are the decision makers, will now be willing to listen to the electorate. We can engage them now, so that what Africans want, which includes reduction of carbon emission and sustainable universal access to clean energy, can be factored in the various countries’ laws and policies.
This Regional Consultative Meeting has the voices, and we have to work smart, first by grabbing the low hanging opportunities. We have to seek more partnership with the willing, as well as mobilize resources to help implement AMCEN decisions. We must also actively participate in the formulation and implementation of subsequent national and sub-national policies and strategies.
The Regional Consultative Meeting, with some powerful civil society actors in Africa, should focus heavily on how to ensure policy delivery and sustainable implementation. We must dare to ask the AMCEN actors how much was implemented after the last such conference.
Dare to establish what strategies and resources are there to address the worsening life of that African woman, child and the aged, all who are the biggest sufferers of the now frequent and common effects of the climate crisis.
Yes, African nations want to grow; but at what cost? Are we laying ground for bigger problems or starting on cleaner slates, especially where renewable energy is concerned? Since this is a gathering with the environmental tone, we must insist on development with long-term assurance of safety for the people and the rest of the biodiversity. If we are ensuring universal access to power, then governments have to plan and invest in new technologies or use existing ones to ensure generation of cleaner and renewable energy that will be accessible to all, including those that live below the poverty line. Such are easier said than done, and it is for this reason that we are keen on ensuring policies and strategies are people-friendly.
The guiding thought for this meeting is; Action for Environmental Sustainability and Prosperity in Africa: Embracing Policy Delivery and Implementation, Through the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment. Let this Regional Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum push for decisions and proclamations that will inspire individual and collective actions by the member States, stakeholders and other partners. Let us show them the business ideas in some of the proposals that we will have. Let us also ask for timelines within which the leaders’ pledges will be honoured.
A system for coherent accountability will be necessary to ensure real-time feedback of implementation progress of the conference’s decisions. This will also help identify specific implementation opportunities and gaps.
Pan African Climate Justice Alliance shall not forget its role in the Regional Consultative Meetings, as a partner, and will continue to push for partnerships to aid efforts to reduce effects of the climate crisis. We shall not relent in our duty to champion climate justice.
I want to reiterate my appreciation for your availability and participation in this forum and remind you of the strength in unified numbers. We have to set the pace in this journey of saving the planet in our little ways.
I wish you fruitful deliberations and a happy stay in Durban.
PAN AFRICAN CLIMATE JUSTICE ALLIANCE