What Africa Expects in Durban - Civil society demands for UN climate talks

BONN, 15th June 2011 - Today, African representatives from non-government groups outlined the urgency of agreeing to deep, legally binding climate pollution reduction targets at UN climate talks

At a press conference hosted by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), a platform for over 300 civil society groups in 45 African countries, leaders speaking on behalf of trade-unions, gender, and environmental justice groups outlined essential elements of any just outcome from the annual UN climate conference to be held this December in Durban, South Africa.

"Climate change zeroes in on African women. Climate change will hit Africa hardest. It already is, our crops don't grow like they used to, the rains don't come when they're supposed to. These changes hurt the poor, the majority of who are women. African women are engaged in the fight of, and for, their lives in these talks because even a temperature rise of 2C would cause devastation to our crops, farms and families", Cecilia Kibe, climate justice campaigner with the Kenya Climate Change Network said.

"To limit the harm to Africans temperature rise must be limited to between 1 to 1.5C. But at the moment, under the so-called Cancun Agreement, countries' reduction pledges risk 5C of warming. That's unthinkable and unconscionable. To get off this road to ruin we need much deeper emission cuts, 50% of developed countries' emissions on 1990 levels by 2017. And we need to make sure that those cuts happen - the Kyoto Protocol represents the system to internationally enforce emissions cuts, it must be continued in Durban and Africans demand that no country walk away from it." Augustine Njamnshi, Central Africa coordinator of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), said.

"South Africans are watching how our government prepares to host the UN climate conference in December. South African social movements were at the forefront of the fight against one of the 20th century's greatest moral injustices: apartheid. Today we stand ready to lead global movements against the most significant moral injustice of the 21st century: climate change." Bobby Peek, Director of groundWork (Friends of the Earth South Africa) said.

"We watched with disappointment at how the Mexican government undermined open and accountable decision making in Cancun. South Africa is building a new democracy, and we expect our Government to support democratic processes globally by having open, transparent and accountable climate negotiations - where every country is respected. The South African Government cannot have secret or selective side meetings to prepare for these talks - they need to tell the world: when, where, and who they're meeting and how they're going to be accountable to the voices of those most vulnerable to climate change: women, farmers and the poor, by ensuring their effective and meaningful participation in these meetings." Mr Peek said.

"Climate change requires a just transition for African workers to new industries, clean technologies and first and foremost requires a safe environment. African trade unions will be mobilizing to support our brothers and sisters in ensuring that Africa's COP delivers for Africa. That means deep emission cuts in the North contained in the Kyoto Protocol, compensation to finance our transition to low carbon societies and an open process where governments can be held to account by their citizens." Yahya Msangi, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) - Africa, said.


A copy of the "Stand Up for Africa" declaration on climate change made by PACJA, ITUC-Africa and the Africa Trade Network (ATN) can be found here.

Footage of the conference can be found at:

PACJA is a platform for over 300 civil society groups in 45 African countries working on climate change. This is a cross section of groups representing indigenous, women, youth, faith/religious, trade and labor, energy, water, agriculture, pastoralists and fisherfolk affected by climate change. The continental secretariat is based in Nairobi, Kenya