Post Marrakech Climate Agenda must focus on smart strategies that are youth and women friendly!
The Pan-African Parliament 4th Vice President, and Leader of Opposition in Sierra Leone, Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai has commended the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) for initiating and following up on the initiative to engage African stakeholders more meaningfully in climate change negotiations and policy.
Dr. Lahai was speaking at the official opening of the two-day African Policy Dialogue on Climate Change, alongside the ongoing AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
As the immediate post Marrakech climate change agenda coincides with the 28th Ordinary Summit of the African Union, the PAP Vice-President emphasized the need for deliberating more with focus on climate resilient and smart strategies that are youth and women friendly, underscoring that Africa has a bulging youth population; mostly unskilled, residing in the rural areas and with agriculture as their mainstay. ‘Agriculture, being climate dependent, the impact of climate change is felt mostly in this sector and by this group, majority of whom are females,’ she stressed.
She disclosed that the Pan African Parliament already has a Caucus on the Youth, whose mandate is to strengthen the participation of youth in driving Africa's development agenda and working with civil society and other relevant stakeholders to ratify and implement the African youth charter. Aspiration 6 of the Agenda 2063, also situate the issues of youth as part of a people-driven Africa.
The policy dialogue held at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) precincts on climate change is a follow up to the initiative started during the COP 22 in Marrakech in October 2016.
The Vice-President said within its mandate, the PAP played a leading role in articulating the voices of African legislators, calling for a fair, equitable and inclusive climate change agreement within the common but differentiated and respective capabilities of state parties’ principle.
Dr. Lahai said for Africa, Marrakech was a success in that a new fund was established to ensure accountability and transparency. She reiterated that PAP was delighted to be part of the policy dialogue and also looks forward to far-reaching recommendations that would ensure Africa gets the most from climate change resources for their adaptation and mitigation action plans.
PACJA was introduced to the PAP during the first Ordinary Session of the 4th Parliament, in October, 2015, in which, a presentation was made to the plenary on its establishment, role in the climate change discussion and their quest to partner with PAP, the continental parliament, to provide leadership to parliamentarians, for advocacy for the signing, ratification and implementation of the Agreement as well as providing oversight for it implementation.
In Marrakech, PAP and PACJA, on 15 November, 2016, held a Round Table discussion on the need to among other things: to forge an alliance that would promote and facilitate a more aggressive role of the parliament in climate legislation and negotiations ; and take legislative initiatives aimed at ensuring that parliamentarians are fully grounded in the contents of the Paris Agreement through their participation, capacity building, networking and collaboration with private sector, civil society and other non-stake actors.
This platform is meant to keep African parliamentarians, civil society and non-governmental organizations constant talks to ensure that African can negotiate from a common premise. The initiative will also advance and ensure that women and youth issues regarding climate change are well appreciated, effectively articulate and advance as necessary. Participants also raised the issue of Multinational Companies as one of the important but mostly overlooked aspects exacerbating climate change.