News / 10 November 2022

African women raise their voice ahead of COP27 and call for climate justice

In October 2022, 150 women from 14 African Countries gathered in Port Harcourt, Nigeria for the first African Women's Climate Assembly. The aim of this Assembly was to strengthen and unify women-led struggles against dirty extractives and false solutions to the climate crisis in West and Central Africa, and propose the real development solutions that support women's interests in a good and decent life and livelihoods in a time of climate crisis.

The Assembly, organised by Both ENDS's partners WoMin, Kebetkache, LSD, and Green Development Advocates Cameroon (GDA) was a feminist, women's rights forum for organising, solidarity and learning which will deepen women's leadership, knowledge, and movement across struggles in West and Central Africa. Participating were women resisting extractives projects including dirty energy, industrial agriculture, industrial fishing, industrial forestry, and mega infrastructure; women impacted by climate change and related impacts, like war, rising sea levels and loss of harvests; and women from NGOs and solidarity organisations.

Floods in Nigeria

Emem Okon, Executive Director of Kebetkache: "Women bear the brunt of climate crisis, suffering lack of access to clean drinking water and land, food insecurity, destruction of properties and farmland, deforestation and flooding. During the Assembly, Nigeria was suffering severe floods. Some people have been living in canoes or in the middle of the road for one month now. Schools are shut down in affected areas. So delegates of the Assembly visited the flood impacted communities and took food supplies, sanitary pads, Dettol, water, toiletries, and provisions."

Activities at the Assembly included songs, dance and drama, workshops, breakaway and plenary sessions. Women deepened their knowledge on the climate crisis, climate change, and false solutions, learned how to use theatre as a tool for resistance, and they shared experiences and strategies. All this with the goal to improve women's leadership and the effectiveness of their actions, and to bring women's voices to governments, NGO's and the wider public.

Emem Okon: "The Assembly provided the opportunity to share stories, lament, cry, and comfort each other, articulate demands and call for action. It provided an opportunity to mobilize women to lead the grassroots climate justice movement in Africa. The voices of the African women and their demands will be amplified at the COP27 in Egypt."

Call for climate justice

To do so, the participants drafted a joint statement which will be used at the UN's climate conference (COP27) in Egypt to spread the African women's call for climate justice, including demands for debt cancellation, for the climate debt to be settled by historically responsible countries and polluters, and for supporting living alternatives for Africa's citizens.

The Women's Assembly was organised as part of the African People's Counter COP (APCC) of the African Climate Justice Collective (ACJC), and marked the start of a permanent assembly of African women for climate justice and just African women-centred development alternatives.

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