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One key lesson emerging from Cyclone Idai crisis in Southern Africa is the need to give the gender dimension of climate change impacts the seriousness it deserves.

Looking at the Cyclone Idai which swept Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, conservative estimates puts the death toll at 1000. But that is not the story. The untold story of the matter is that most of the victims happened to be women of different ages and children who were unable to run orhave sufficient energy to climb higher places, swim, hold onto anything, or wait for rescuers.

But then, thisis the tragic reality wherever disaster strikes; wherever there is extreme drought or floods, the victims are always women and children, while strong men relocate to urban areas. 

Even when young people are fleeing climate-related harsh economic conditions in the Sahel, the first victims to drown in the Mediterranean Ocean are girls and young women andif they are lucky to cross the seamost face sexual harassments while fleeing, and face the same jeopardy and upon arrival at their destinations.

Numerous studies have shown that women face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination that include harmful stereotypes, social, economic and political barriers that limit their adaptive capacity,  limited  or inequitable access to  financial assets  and  services, education, land, resources, and decision-making processes, as well as fewer opportunities and less autonomy hence making them more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.


The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) years of work and research have shown that inequality, patriarchal structures and systemic barriers, as well as the different views, experiences and needs of men and women contribute to an overall higher risk of women experiencing harmful effects of climate change.


PACJA has stated time and again that climate change perpetuates gender inequality. Gender inequality and the violation of women’s rights, in turn, hinder women’s participation in climate action.This  informs PACJA’s clarion call that; 

  • Women and men must be ACTORS for climate protection
  • Women and men must be DECISION-MAKERS on climate action
  • Women and men are differently IMPACTED by climate change

In the African Development Bank (AfDB) 2019 CSOs Forum, PACJA is calling upon the Bank, governments and CSOs to invest in the following areas in an effort to address the impact of climate change on women. These include, sexual and reproductive health, gender based violence, access to land, mobility and women and girls traffic just to mention a few. These are all factors that can be linked directly to climate change.


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Statement by the Civil Society

Augustine Njamnshi

Thank you for this honor and the special place given to the African civil society with the holding of this forum.

Let me begin by acknowledging the distinguished dignitaries present here today:

  • Vice President Blanke
  • Vice President Khaled
  • Honorable Minister Oumarou from Niger
  • Director Moungar
  • Executive Director Dieye

It is indeed an honor for me to share this platform with all of you. It is exactly a decade since the Bank started organsing this event and this is therefore a forum with a difference.. This is a testament of our collective commitment to an integrated and prosperous Africa; and a recognition of the role that the civil society must play in this project.

Dear Colleagues of the African Civil Society,

Dear partners of Africa and the African Civil Society

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

The Pan-African consciousness has always sought to strengthen the bonds that tie us as descendants of this great continent. Wherever we find ourselves, the pan Africanism doctrine prompts us to recognize and celebrate our shared heritage and values as a people. More importantly, it rallies us around a common destiny of togetherness and prosperity.

The case for a united Africa has been stated over the decades, most times by people more gifted in these matters than I. But no one – in my humble opinion – captures its pertinence more than the author Thabiso Daniel Monkoe, who once said: “The reason why lions hunt successfully as a pride, is reason enough for Africans to unite.”  That means if pride were  the only reason we must unite, then we are duty-bound to do so.

Pan-Africanism and African unity and integration are all central to the thematic issues we will be discussing at this gathering. I dare to argue that an integrated and prosperous Africa is unattainable without first uniting its peoples and transcending the boundaries that have been carved for use by others. Yes, by boundaries, I mean those carved for us, and without us in Berlin in 1884.

We must realize, more than ever before, that the forces militating against our collective good are many, strong and unrelenting. Some are from outside. The consequences of the colonial and neo colonial agenda still trap Africa in dependency. Some are from within. We are yet to accept ourselves as brothers and sisters. The spate of xenophobia in countries like South Africa is counter-productive to the unity we seek. It is unimaginable that as we talk integration, thousands of my own countrymen and women are beaten and thrown out of their homes and workplaces almost every year in places like Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. Being a “foreign African” has become an undesirable status in many African countries. Colleagues, sometimes we over blame the Berlin conference that partitioned Africa. Surely the physical boundaries of Africa were determined there in Berlin and there is nothing we can now do about that. The good news is that our minds were not partitioned there as well.

“Integration and economic prosperity” is not a goal that can be achieved without first overcoming these forces. It is not something that can be gotten through institutional and policy arrangements only. We must transcend big politics and begin to build in Africans a sense of belonging. The pangs of hunger, disease, natural calamities and deprivation are all too strong, and we cannot to these add disunity, the lack of solidarity and outright hate for each other. When Nigerian, a Zambian, a Zimbabwean, a Malawian is taken out of his home and mercilessly beaten in South Africa; when a Cameroonian or a Senegalese is taken and sold as a slave in Libya for less than $400, it is not foreign forces that are doing that. It is us!!

Ladies and gentlemen,

The welfare of the African, irrespective of age, sex or creed, should guide our actions. What are roads, bridges, power lines, large farms and an accumulation of wealth if they do not contribute to the collective good and instill a sense of being in the African citizen. May I take this opportunity, to express my personal gratitude and that of the civil society to the leadership of African Development Bank, for its proactive and timely action it took in assisting some countries of the southern African region that were hard hit by cyclones and floods.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am the first to admit that the work that needs to be done to achieve an integrated and prosperous Africa is enormous. Governments on their own will not succeed. That is why it is useful that all actors put their hands on the plough.

The African civil society is ready to play its role. More than ever before, it is capable of tackling most of the many challenges facing this continent. Over the last decades, the African Civil Society landscape has undergone tremendous transformation and is rich in experience and expertise. Use us. Use us well beyond consultative roles.

This partnership is bound to produce wins for both governmental and non-governmental organizations. Above all, it is bound to propel Africa forward and help us all attain the future we desire.

Let me again note that the African civil society is willing and capable of building an integrated and prosperous Africa. USE US.

Thanks for your kind attention.



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Africa Climate Week: Accessing Finance for Climate Action

Access to finance remains critical for vulnerable African countries to take climate action.

Ghana, for instance, requires $22.6billion in investments to implement climate mitigation and adaptation actions.

While countries are expected to commit national resources in undertaking climate mitigation and adaptation, overcoming the climate scourge will demand huge international support to efficiently implement the nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

The NDCs are efforts each country makes to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has been established as a critical avenue to mobilize financial resources to address the challenge of climate change.

Activated in 2010, the GCF operates as the financial mechanism under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to support the efforts in developing countries to respond to the challenge of climate change.

Support to developing countries is to facilitate limiting their greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change.

So far, developed nations have pledged to provide a current target of $100billion by 2020.

The last UN Climate Conference in Katowice, Poland, did not achieve new financial commitments but urged countries to deliver on their pledges.

According to Dr. Samson Samuel Ogallah, Solidaridad Network Senior Climate Specialist for Africa, until the pledges are converted to commitments and contributions, it cannot be said that resources have been attained for climate action.

“We’ve heard countries pledge big amounts but some of the pledges are never converted into contributions which become a challenge in the implementation of real action on the ground,” he observed.

The US, for instance, pledged $3billion but managed to convert $1.5billion during the Obama administration. The other part of the fund never materialized in the Trump administration.

Other contributed funds also go through bureaucracies and approval processes with a chunk of the Fund going into consultancy, and leaving a pittance for climate action on the grounds.

Concerned about the minimal civil society participation o in the design, implementation and evaluation of climate projects, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) and Care International held a day’s workshop on the sidelines of the Africa Climate Week with a focus on sustainable financing for climate action.

Executive Director of PACJA, Mithika Mwenda, noted that “as representatives of the people and communities on the ground, civil society organizations are very important in any action on climate change, including finance. The Green Climate Fund must be people-driven, people-responsive fund which funds things that cannot be financed by the conventional banks like the World Bank”.

The Accra dialogue, involving 15 countries in Africa, acknowledged the proper and broader engagement of stakeholders in GCF processes can help most African countries develop fundable proposal which can enhance resilience of vulnerable communities and bring about paradigm shift in the entire process.

“The GCF is designed to address the needs of people at the local level, involving small holder farmers, pastoralist communities, labour movement, women and the youth,” Mithika noted.

He said PACJA is undertaking extensive training and outreach to demystify the Green Climate Fund as an instrument to support agriculture, transport and other economic activities.

But Funds available through the GCF and Global Environmental Facility (GEF), among other financial mechanisms, are currently inadequate to meet the global needs for climate solutions.

According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), African countries need $3trillion by 2030 to implement their Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets.

Regional Principal Officer of AfDB, Dr. Olufunso Somorin, said 75percent of the amount will be leveraged from the private sector.

He therefore believes CSOs have a role in brokering increased engagement of the private sector in climate financing.

“The low resourcing of GCF is a concern,” he said. “Attracting private sector investment is a long-term solution”.

Long term engagement of CSO’s towards strengthening broader societal support for transformation and increase accountability of national authorities is critical to achieve GCF paradigms of low-emissions and climate-resilient economies and societies.

By Kofi Adu Domfeh

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