The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance has been recognised for its consistent fight for climate justice and ensuring sustainable environmental management.
The award presented by the African Union and the Sierra Leone government was received on behalf of the organisation by PACJA’s Tracy Sonny (PACJA Botswana) during the Women and Environment Forum and Launching of the African Women Innovators for Sustainable Environment in Freetown, Sierra Leone on March 3, 2020.
The Launch of the Women Innovators for Sustainable Environment came at the end of a three-day event that also marked the official commemoration of the Africa Environment and Wangari Maathai Day on March 3.
The event was done in partnership with IOM, UNEP, WWF, AU, PACJA and the Sierra Leonese government.
The Africa Environment and Wangari Maathai Day event brought together several climate stakeholders. The launch of the African Women Innovators for Sustainable Environment network comes at a time women have seen the power of coordinated planning and working together for the common goal of ensuring sufficient protection of natural resources. The network is expected to offer women an opportunity to systematically and scientifically participate in the attainment of the sustainable development goals and their targets, as they relate to women and the environment.
The events that have seen us get to this point can be traced back to 2002, when the Africa Environment Day was designated by the then Organisation of the African Unity Council of Ministers in their meeting in Durban, South Africa.
This was based on the recognition of the numerous environmental challenges confronting the African continent, which over the years have been further aggravated by loss of biological diversity, climate change, desertification and increased pollution and inappropriate disposal of waste chemicals.
In January 2012, the African Union adopted a decision calling for the joint celebrations of the African Environment Day and Wangari Maathai Day. The celebrations of the Wangari Maathai Day is in recognition of the work and life of the late Prof Wangari Maathai, a Kenyam environmentalist who dedicated her life to promoting environmental conservation and sustainable development in Africa. The day is celebrated in the form of speeches, symposia, drama, songs, tree planting and other environmental sensitisation activities, field visits and school competitions.
This year in Freetown, the Africa Environment and Wangari Mathaai Day was marked with the theme: Our Resources; Our Future.
The theme underlines the central role of natural resources as foundation for sustainable development in Africa. Statements were delivered by the African Union Commission and Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone. The main highlight of the day was a national symposium on the sustainable utilisation of natural resources, which drew speakers from various government agencies and partners. The symposium was meant to build and consolidate the momentum for increased political attention and determination for sustainable utilisation of the country’s natural resources for an inclusive socio-economic development.
The main target includes policy makers, general public, school children, women and youth group and media. Other highlights of the celebrations for 2020 will included a two-day women and Environment Forum and a Ministerial Forum on environment.
The Women and Environment Forum held from March 1 to March 2, 2020, was to raise awareness on sustainable environmental management among all stakeholders at national, regional and continental levels. It also aims to highlight the plights certain vulnerable groups, including women and minority groups with regards to access to and ownership over natural resources in order to promote sustainable management of the resources. To promote the nexus between gender and sustainable environmental management, a new dimension has been added to the celebrations.
For the past three years, the commemoration of the Africa Environment and Wangari Mathaai Day have been preceded by a two-day Women and Environment Forum. The objective of this forum was to raise awareness on strengthening women’s access to land and other natural resources to enhance their empowerment, increase agricultural productivity and sustainable management of natural resources. Women leaders in various fields were invited to make presentations on critical issues affecting women.
PACJA continues to capture every opportunity to improve environmental sustainability and prevent the masses in Africa from the ravages of the effects of the climate crisis.