Before the Road to Paris event started, the people of Africa made known their expectations on a desirable climate change plan, believing that the right strategy for civil society and progressive governments from around the world was successful.
Three Alliances (ACT Alliance, We-Have-Faith, and PACJA) as well as Practical Action, Conservz worldwide and Oxfam International merged to organize a Pan-African Climate Justice Campaign.
The campaign was spread into various phases, the climax of which was an African Social Pre-COP: the Conference of the People (COPE) in Nairobi, Kenya.
Activities took place at the national, regional and international levels, beginning with a cycling caravan in Southern Africa, awareness marches, workshops across the continent and a Pan African Parliamentarians summit on the needs of African people.
Three weeks before COP 21, the campaign ended in a march-cum-concert in Nairobi. The result was a unified and
galvanized position from African stakeholders demanding an equitable, pro-poor and science-based common position in COP21.
These views were among those delivered to the UNFCCC a day ahead of COP 21 and later to France’s President Francoise Hollande.
The question remains: After all the mobilization and intense lobbying, did Paris deliver an outcome responsive to realities and aspirations of African people? How were African demands affirmed in the Agreement coming two decades on?
Shortly after the Paris agreement was delivered on the evening of Saturday 12 December 2015, PACJA expressed regret that world leaders had once more failed to live to the expectation of those mostly affected, majority of whom are on the African continent.
“For civil society representatives on the continent most impacted by climate change, our hearts bleed profusely for communities who expected COP 21 to deliver an agreement that is responsive to African realities and aspirations,” said Mithika Mwenda, PACJA Secretary General.
He represented the views of African masses.
Over the years, PACJA have been pessimistically hopeful that we would secure an Agreement, in which:
1. All countries play their part, in accordance to their capability and their contributions to global warming.
2. The principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and respective capabilities is upheld.
3. Includes clear targets, verifiable measurement indicators and plans for implementations are clearly outlined.
4. The African peoples’ overarching “ask” for the UNFCCC-COP21 can be summarized as such:
PACJA believes the Paris agreement must be a fair, equitable, ecologically just and legally binding deal.
It is believed that African countries, which are most affected by climate change, were disadvantaged from the start. The Agreement is a cause for both hope and caution.
It has some inclusions, which, by their mere mention in the text create new possibilities for the continent. Still, there are
omissions, which PACJA promises it will continue to be alert to, and fight for, as they forge new paths ahead.
The Agreement is global in nature. It brings together parities that had been unable to agree on a comprehensive way to address Climate Change.
In Paris, Africa managed to change its narrative, albeit slightly. The “African Pavillion” served as the rallying point for African people, and provided the identity of the continent’s unique outlook in the climate change negotiations. PACJA came out as a solution provider as opposed to a victim in need of salvation.
In addition to minimal victories with regard to finance, it is worth noting that African Group of Negotiators (AGN), the African Ministerial Conference of the Environment (AMCEN), and the Committee of African Heads of State and
Government (CAHOSCC) managed to hold their own footing.
The AGN went to Paris with two initiatives that would contribute to achieving the expected outcomes of the Paris Agreement: The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative and the Africa Adaptation Initiative.
Having worked closely with various African stakeholder groups, PACJA understands that this has not been an easy task, and applauds their achievements.