AWF Calls for More Action towards Reversing Biodiversity Loss following Climate Conference
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Climate negotiations concluded with a landmark decision on loss and damage, which is a progressive move for Africans suffering the devastating impacts of climate change and a sign of the power of collective efforts of African governments, youth, communities, and civil society. A huge lesson that when we are united, we can move the needle. The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has been actively engaging in the climate negotiations that just concluded in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt mobilizing, through the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Charles R. Wall Policy Fellows Program, a diverse delegation of young voices, and civil society and Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLC) representatives to amplify African voices in these important global talks. Dubbed the ‘African COP,’ the hope was to see Africa’s priorities well addressed and a clear roadmap developed to ensure that the loss and damage fund is established and rolled out by 2024.
AWF commends African negotiators who showed up more united than ever before after preparatory meetings like the Libreville Africa Climate Week Meeting that took place two months prior to COP27. It is AWF’s vision to continue working with key stakeholders such as the African Union to bring Africa together to drive the continent’s sustainable development goals.
While there remains deep concern that the level of ambition to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions remains insufficient as the world continues towards a level of warming more than 1.5 degrees, COP27 marked a scaling up of active roles youth, civil society and IPLCs played in the negotiations. Seeing the progress made on loss and damage, we have hope that strengthening our collective action will lead to results on mitigation as well.
Marie Tamoifo Nkom, one of the youth delegates supported by SIDA, is the Sub-regional Coordinator of the Network of Young Leaders for Sustainable Management of Central African Forest Ecosystems (REJEFAC). She is also an active member of the Conference on Central African Dense and Moist Forest Ecosystems (CEFDHAC). Marie has piloted many projects and programs such as the annual gathering COP CHEZ NOUS initiative, giving youth from the Congo Basin a chance to share their contribution papers for COPs, a solar energy program.
“As a young woman representing both the local communities in my country and the youth, I can confidently say that governments are asking the right questions and are ready to engage us in more meaningful dialogues that will inform the action plans we are collaboratively implementing both at a grassroot level and national level,” Marie comments.
AWF believes strongly that the integration of approaches across the global policy conventions impacting climate, biodiversity and species is critical to achieving sustainable development in Africa. To amplify these efforts, it is imperative that we realise the strength in numbers in a global and equitable line of action.
AWF CEO Kaddu Sebunya expressed, ‘The linkages between biodiversity and climate cannot be understated. Commitments are good but not enough. We are seeing a powerful movement of young voices who are unafraid to be the change we all need to achieve the targets being set at these conventions. We have seen the sign in Sharm El Sheik that civil society, youth and governments in Africa are coming together and when they do, change is possible.”
He reiterated: “We should stay cautiously aware that more work is needed to avoid the repeat of Paris Agreement where the commitments were not met. At the end of the day for these commitments to be realised, the money needs to hit the ground, where daily decisions about how to use resources must change. It goes without saying that in order to address the root challenges, we must begin with lifestyle changes in our patterns of production and consumption that contribute to these emissions in the long run. Change begins on an individual level.”
As the world now shifts focus to COP28 that will be taking place in the United Arab Emirates in the next 12 months, it is fundamental to ensure that the key issues not addressed at this conference are given the priority they deserve including resolving the financing gap and the requisite action is set in motion. All while largely advocating for behaviour shifts through significant reduction of fossil fuel use and production and consumption patterns.
About African Wildlife Foundation
The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and their habitats as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 during the African independence movement in order to build our capacity to steward our natural resources, AWF articulates a uniquely African vision, bridging science, education, public policy, and field programs to demonstrate the benefits of conservation and build a future for Africa where people and wildlife thrive.
AWF MEDIA CONTACTS: For more information, contact Wambui Odhiambo, AWF Senior Executive Communications Specialist at email@example.com, +254 728 886987