A Maiden two-day Africa Women and Children Conference (AFRIWOCC) has stated that Africa’s youthful population presents both an opportunity and a challenge to social cohesion if the right investments are not made in positive climate action.
In that light they also suggested climate action narrative must shift from a problem-based approach to identifying and seizing opportunities for innovation, creative solutions, education, and empowerment, particularly for women and children.
This was in a communique presented after a two-day conference and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra.
The two-day conference, which opened on the theme “Amplifying the Voices of Women and Children in Climate Action”, sought to address the adverse effects of climate change on vulnerable groups, and also document indigenous knowledge and innovations in climate change solutions.
Participants at the conference discussed the importance of presenting a unified African message on climate action, particularly concerning its effects on women, children, youth, and persons with disabilities.
It said the inadequate institutional capacity and high levels of gender inequality had compounded the adverse impact of climate change in Africa, particularly for women and children; “The climate crisis in Africa has had an adverse effect on food security which disproportionately impacts women and children leading to widespread malnutrition, poor health outcomes, conflict, and increased exposure to violence;
“Efforts must be made to create spaces for the voices of African women, children, and young people in climate discussions at all levels.”
The communique said financing for green initiatives existed but was not readily accessible to women and the youth who were climate change agents.
The conference recommended a series of measures to address some of the key observations, including gender-balanced delegations to climate change conferences, the adoption of indigenous and locally-led interventions, capacity building, and involvement of traditional authorities in climate action, prioritizing women and children issues in government policies, integrating climate education into basic school curricula, and designing gender-sensitive programmes by development partners, among others.
The recommendations from AFRIWOCC 2023 will be explored and potentially refined for adoption at the Africa Climate Summit/Week in Nairobi-Kenya in September and the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) 28 in Dubai later this year.
AFRIWOCC is a biennial conference convened by Mrs. Samira Bawumia under the Samira Empowerment and Humanitarian Projects (SEHP) to create true inclusivity for women and children across the African Continent, through meaningful dialogues and the showcase of innovative solutions to issues confronting women and children in Africa.
Each year, the conference adopts a prevailing area of focus as a theme.
This year’s edition brought together about 800 participants and exhibitors from across Africa, including high-level dignitaries such as President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Vice President of Liberia, Jewel Taylor and Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the South African Minister for Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities.
The conference also received solidarity messages from the Deputy Secretary of the United Nations, Madam Amina Mohammed, and the Director General of the World Trade Organization Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Also present were high-ranking government officials from various African countries, members of parliament, development partners, traditional leaders, students, and leading figures in climate action across Africa