Following the maiden Africa Women and Children Conference’s (AFRIWOCC) success in Accra, the Second Lady, Samira Bawumia, is leading a High Level Dialogue on ‘Amplifying the Voices of Women and Children in Climate Action’ at the Africa Climate Week (ACW).
The ACW, which is being championed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), aims to address increasing exposure to climate change and its associated costs, both globally and particularly in Africa.
With the expectation of escalating climate crises in terms of frequency and intensity, the ACW will serve as a platform to inform, frame and influence commitments, pledges and outcomes, ultimately leading to development of the Nairobi Declaration. Convened by the UNFCCC and hosted by the Kenyan government in partnership with the African Union, actions and outcomes of the maiden AFRIWOCC will be discussed at the ACW.
The two-day AFRIWOCC was convened by the Second Lady Mrs. Bawumia in response to issues facing women and children in climate crisis, and has been initiated as a high-level conference that will bring together global experts to deliberate on issues related to women and children within the African continent.
Themed ‘Amplifying the Voices of Women and Children in Climate Action’, the maiden AFRIWOCC was designed as a critical but nuanced platform of engagement for reflections on climate issues and their impacts, and framed as a conversation to elicit responses from some leading actors in the fields of climate, environment, natural resources, agriculture and energy.
The conference ended with the signing of a communique representing a joint commitment to climate action for women and children, having brought together distinguished leaders including the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who delivered the keynote address; Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed; and Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, among other eminent figures.
Signed by Samira Bawumia, the Second Lady of Ghana; Irchard Razaaly, EU ambassador to Ghana; and Charles Abani, UN resident coordinator-Ghana, the communique emphasises the imperative need for governments, civil society and the private sector to prioritise the rights and well-being of women and children in climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Founder and convener of AFRIWOCC Samira Bawumia explained that the document symbolises a call for increased investment in education, healthcare and economic empowerment for women and children, while highlighting the significance of their meaningful participation in climate change decision-making processes; and establishing a working group that will ensure women and children-centered climate-related projects for Africa.
The communique’s actions will be discussed by a panel of experts as a side-event at the Africa Climate Summit, and centre on the roadmap to achieving the communique’s actions.
The event will be opened by Mrs. Bawumia and closed by Ahunna Eziakonwa, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Africa. The High Level Dialogue will have an array of panellists including Dr. Angela Lusigi, UNDP Resident Representative, Ghana; Damilola Ogunbiyi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sustainable Energy for All; Dymphna Van Der Lans, CEO Clean Cooking Alliance; Samuel A. Jinapor, MP and Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Ghana; and Prof Anthony Nyong, Director-Climate Change and Green Growth, African Development Bank; Mr. Niyi Ojoulape, Country Representative of UNFPA, Somalia and the Minister of Environment of the Republic of Rwanda.
Slated for Thursday, September 7, 2023 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, outcomes of the discussions are expected to shape Africa’s position at the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties’ twenty-eighth session (COP 28) that will be held from November 30 – December 12, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The maiden conference keenly acknowledged the unique vulnerabilities of women and children in the face of climate change, while also recognising their indispensable roles in driving climate action. The gathering’s primary objective was to shine a spotlight on the perspectives of women and children; ultimately fostering inclusive solutions and equitable strategies for a resilient future in the context of climate challenges.
A variety of vital topics were outlined for discussion, encompassing crucial themes such as ‘Breaking Barriers and Increasing Representation in Climate Action: Empowering Women and Children in Africa’; ‘Leveraging Indigenous Resources for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation’; and ‘Building Synergies and Strategic Partnerships to Unlock Africa’s Capacity to Address the Climate Crisis’.
These discussions captivated attendees’ attention and offered valuable insights and perspectives on harnessing the voices of women and children as potent catalysts for driving meaningful change amid evolving climate challenges facing the planet.
The conference’s objectives were to assess impacts of the climate crisis on women and children, advocate for policies that champion the interest of women and children in climate change sector regulations and development, and coordinate a network of organisations focused on women and children in the climate change economy.
They also sought to create a platform to discuss practical and realistic projects and programmes to address the adverse effects of climate change on women and children; and to document indigenous knowledge and innovation in climate change.
Representing a pivotal moment in the pursuit of gender-responsive and people-centred climate policies in Africa, the conference has potential to create a lasting impact, drive transformative change and build a more resilient future for all in the face of climate change challenges – by intensifying the voices of women and children and fostering inclusive and sustainable climate action.
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SEHP is under the auspices of the office of the President, and its founder and conveyor, Mrs. Bawumia, is of the belief that the AFRIWOCC initiative stands as a testament to the power of global collaboration – uniting influential leaders, activists and experts in a shared endeavour to amplify the voices of women and children for the greater good of our planet and future generations.