Accra, Ghana—As the devastation left behind by Cyclone Idai continued to shock the world, dozens of civil society activists broke from the Africa Climate Week here and took to the streets Thursday to demand just, fair and equitable climate action from continental and world leaders.
Failures by world leaders to match words in international climate change negotiations and agreements with commensurate action has left Africa ever so vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change and incapacitated to do much about it.
The global community has failed Africa, “especially when it comes to issues to do with finance to support African adapt to climate change and undertake mitigation actions,” said Charles Mwangi of the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), which lead Thursday’s march.
“Africa is the least contributor to climate change, but we are the [worst] victims. But we do not want to be the victims, we want to be part and passel of the solution and need support to be able to do that.”
Cyclone Idai, now widely considered one of the worst natural disasters registered in the southern hemisphere, has killed at least 350 and displaced thousands of people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. Disease outbreaks and starvation are now feared as the impact of the storm lingers.
“The cyclone is a stark reminder of the moral imperative to act on climate change, which experts say is exacerbating such storms,” and official Africa Climate Week statement read.
Activists marched for more than a kilometer for about an hour. “Climate action, now! Climate justice, now!” they chanted through the Ghanaian Capital.
“We want to be heard by the people who are in charge of making policies,” Mwangi said. “We are being told that temperature rise will reach 1.5 degrees by 2030-2050. We must make sure that temperature rise stays below 1.5 degrees. So, we need to march. We need to speak. We need to give the message that we want action now.”
Youth activists joined the march, which culminated at the Accra Conference Center, where continental leaders and global actors had gathered for the African Climate Week.
“Inaction today puts our future as young people and that of future generations at risk,” said youth climate activist Rejoice Adzo Sosou Keteku, the Continental Coordinator for Africa of Earth Guardians. “That is why we demand action now.”