A group of Church and civil society actors launched the African Climate Dialogues, a process to reflect on key topics affecting Africa towards the UN climate conference (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
The African Climate Dialogues is an initiative bringing together Church and civil society actors as well as allies including communities and religious leaders from across the African continent and European organisations. Throughout these dialogues, we will share African realities, personal experiences and perspectives on key topics related to the COP27 scheduled from 7 to 18 November 2022.
They will take the form of a series of meetings on key topics throughout August- September 2022, when expert participants will be invited to share their perspectives, discuss priorities and put forward solutions. The outputs of these dialogues will be shared ahead of and during COP27 through a joint communiqué, which will support ongoing advocacy with a common voice (composed of inputs from climate realities on the ground, spiritual and technical reflections) directed at governments at the national, regional and international levels.
Inspired by Pope Francis’s call for synodality (journeying together in dialogue), these participatory dialogues will reflect on climate realities through the lens of Catholic Social Teachings, as well as climate science, distilling concrete policy outputs for COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh. The dialogues’ sessions will be accessible upon invitation. Do not hesitate to reach out to the key contacts below should you be interested in taking part in the session.
The following sessions will be part of the dialogues:
- False Solutions and the Congo Basin – 19 July – Read here the newsletter following this session.
There is a growing concern that many of the climate solutions proposed for and in Africa do not protect and preserve the environmental integrity nor promote climate resilience as intended but instead continue to threaten the remaining natural resources in Africa, particularly the Congo Basin. This session is focused on identifying and interrogating various forms of increasingly supported false solutions which cause distractions in the global climate discourse from forest and biodiversity, food and agriculture, energy and extractives, and business sectors amongst representatives from government, Church actors, the media, and the grassroots. They will be given the opportunity to point out already existing false solutions and give a critical analysis of their loopholes. Community voices will be amplified by devoting another session to hearing testimonies from the ground. Particularly, grassroots mobilizers from Congo, Mozambique, Nigeria, and South Africa will be given the opportunity to share their stories on how they have been impacted by the already identified false solutions in the first session.
Key Contact: Caroline Kiiru – Laudato Si’ Movement (caroline(at)laudatosimovement.org).
- Food Systems, Agriculture & Adaptation – 10 August
Agriculture is a critical player in the climate system. Experts have found that it contributes 19-29% of total greenhouse gas emissions. This is not the only concern; agriculture is vulnerable to climate change impacts. Currently, millions of people in the Sahel, the Horn and the East of Africa are affected by acute food insecurity due to unreliable rainfall. Additionally, the current food system is under further threat following the impacts of the war in Ukraine that have exposed the deep vulnerability of low-income countries through supply-chain disruptions and food price spikes. As the world population increases, the demand for food increases. Experiences from local actors in Africa show that food sovereignty through the promotion of agroecology offers solutions to the climate crisis and can help transform the food systems to cope with climate change. As COP27 will be about finance and implementation, it is critical to demonstrate why agroecology should be included as a food systems approach in Nationally-Determined Contributions while being supported through climate finance. This virtual event will provide a platform to discuss the African context, and the possible local solutions that can be scaled up to address the current climate crisis. The event organisers recognise the importance of localising climate action by ensuring that the voices of smallholder farmers are heard. The participants will discuss transformative local solutions that enhance climate change adaptation while respecting the climate, biodiversity and human rights.
Key Contact: Lucy Esipila – Caritas Africa (lucy.esipila(at)caritas-africa.org)
- Climate Finance – 31 August
Current climate finance pledges do not come close to meeting the estimated need, mobilisation of funds lags far behind pledges, funds that are mobilised often come in inappropriate forms (concessional or non-concessional loans rather than grants), and less than half of allocated financing is actually disbursed. Also, there is a pronounced need for climate finance for many developing countries to meet their mitigation and adaptation action, particularly in Africa, yet the available finance is not reaching the most vulnerable countries and communities where it is needed the most. For effective and just climate action, climate finance must be understood within the wider financial context in Africa. There is a pronounced need for climate finance for developing countries to meet their mitigation and adaptation goals, particularly in Africa, yet the available finance is not reaching the most vulnerable countries and communities where it is needed the most. Current climate finance pledges do not come close to meeting the estimated need, mobilization of funds lags far behind pledges, funds that are mobilized often come in inappropriate forms (concessional or non-concessional loans rather than grants), and less than half of allocated financing is actually disbursed. The purpose of this session is to explore the importance of climate finance for Africa, highlighting the need to meet existing goals, the role of debt, and access to financing.
Key Contact: Bryan Galligan – JENA ( jeoresearchpolicy(at)jesuits.africa)
- Loss and Damage – 8 September
The issue of Loss & Damage received a shot in the arm at COP26 in Glasgow. No longer only a priority of the most impacted countries, Loss & Damage is now getting attention from climate actors across the world. For many advocates of action on this issue, this shift in attention towards Loss & Damage is a welcome re-focusing of attention within the UNFCCC to see the climate crisis through the lens of the people who are already suffering its impacts. This event will explore the concept of Loss & Damage in an accessible way, for the benefit of policy-makers, campaigners, practitioners and citizens from across the world by reflecting on what it means from the perspective of communities already hit by climate impacts through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching, and offering a platform for the expression of a clear vision of what needs to happen at COP27 on this issue.
Key Contact: Ben Wilson – SCIAF (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Migration & Displacement – 15 September
This African Climate Dialogues session aims to discuss among NGOs and faith-based organisations from Africa, Europe and other Regions how to address the root causes of environmental and climate change-induced displacement, adaptation to climate change impacts and protection of the human rights of people forcibly displaced from their homes, including through Loss & Damage mechanisms.
The session aims to elaborate key advocacy messages for the upcoming COP27 in Egypt, by highlighting which decisions and bold actions States Parties to the UNFCCC should take to address the root causes and impacts of climate change and environmental degradation on both people and planet, in particular on the poorest and most vulnerable, such as women and girls, children and youth, people with disabilities, local communities and indigenous people. This will lead to linking environmental approach to social issues particularly focusing on the voices of the future. It will also focus on the special role of the people of faith in delivering a successful COP27 and placing the planet on a path to resilience.
Key Contact: Alphonce Munyao – CYNESA (alphoncemunyao94(at)gmail.com)
For general inquiries about the dialogues, please contact: Lydia Machaka, Climate Justice and Energy Officer, CIDSE (machaka(at)cidse.org)
This project is co-founded by the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the organisers and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.
Photo credit: CYNESA.