The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly disrupted plans by civil society organisations, especially the ones that, like the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, focus on climate change.
To champion climate justice, PACJA, in all its platforms, had planned several activities that also involved physical work in partnership with several other stakeholders, but, like the rest of the world, a lot has remained to be done virtually. When he spoke to the Press Monday, Oboue Anicet Durand, the PACJA Corte d’Ivoire National Coordinator, regretted that a lot of things would have to be done at a later date, especially where activities involved working with indigenous or other communities.
Mr Durand was interviewed by MEDI 1 TV channel where he shared on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on environmental and climate championing activities and actions.
“A lot of action plans’ implementation will have to wait, and this problem is not unique to PACJA Cote d’Ivoire, or even the entire PACJA organ,” said Durand. Indeed, the activist’s claims can be confirmed, as only this week the UNFCCC’s national Focal Point announced that its next Conference of Parties (CoP26) had been postponed to November 1-12 2021.
Several other conferences or meetings that were to ensure the climate crisis discourse, including its mitigation and adaptation, negotiations and tracking of pledges by individual nations on reduction of Green House Gas emission and releasing of green climate fund, was advanced.
Already the Subsidiary Body meetings that were supposed to happen in the second quarter of the year have been pushed to October.
Some of those that CSOs may have to postpone are bilateral meetings with funders or donors, such as the African Development Bank, in the case of PACJA. “For us they include restitution of Africa’s participation in COP25; bilateral meetings with key stakeholders and the Ivorian Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, of the UN-Environment, awareness activities in universities, high schools and colleges,” said Durand.
PACJA, including its Côte d'Ivoire platform, has, however been able to hold online meetings with employees and other technical and financial partners. In Kenya, PACJA, with the leadership of its Executive Director Mithika Mwenda, planted at least 100,000 bamboo trees in riparian and other areas. The trees are expected to save the environment while at the same time giving local communities a source of income.
For now, the PACJA Cote d’Ivoire will be actively involved in a pan-African webinar to analyse the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on climate actions in countries such as Morocco, Gabon, Senegal and Côte d Ivoire itself. “A strategic risk plan is ready with a view to strengthening actions with the sub-regional and United Nations institutions and agencies,” he said, adding that the world would eventually find a way around the health crisis and adapt to an already visible new normal.
On May 26th, the UNFCCC announced: “Having consulted widely, and taking into account the international event calendar, the UK is proposing to hold CoP 26 on November 1-12, 2021”.
Already PACJA Executive Director Mithika Mwenda had welcomed the proposal to have the CoP 26 delayed, despite knowing that there would be another huge loss.
PACJA’s attention has not, however, shifted from the activities that help us champion climate crisis, and now plans to use every available opportunity to make the next big event, which is the World Environment Day, as helpful and successful as possible.
Other PACJA platforms in Cameroon, Botswana, Zambia, South Africa, Nigeria, to mention a few, have equally stepped out of this world quarantine and distributed food aid and sanitation equipment to the needy, as well as contributed in the stocking of personal protective equipment for medics, as was the case in Gabon earlier this week.