African leaders told to engage all players in summit

Pan african Climate Justice Alliance Executive Director Mithika Mwenda and Malawian Former President Joyce Banda after the signing ceremony to strengthen PACJA and Government of Malawi collaboration. [David Gichuru, Standard]

African leaders have been urged to foster collaboration to shape discourse on climate change and benefit all deserving communities.

Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) executive director Mithika Mwenda called on African presidents to champion initiatives that address climate change at the grassroots.

Speaking on Monday, Mr Mithika led environment experts in making the call ahead of the Africa Climate Summit to be held in Nairobi next month.

They emphasised need for climate justice to protect rights of children, women and farmers who are largely affected by changes in climate.

“Put the African people above all personal and collective political and economic interests. We call on our leaders to listen to the voices of their people, especially the youth and women. Indigenous peoples, farmers, workers and other vulnerable groups, who are bearing the brunt of the climate impacts. Our leaders have a moral and legal obligation to protect our shared future and home,” he said.

Mithika called for respect to those who are affected by effects of climate change. “Respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of all people, especially those left vulnerable and marginalised by effects of climate change,” he said. 

The lobby is pushing for climate justice and inter-generational equity. “We reiterate that climate policies and actions measures should not only aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change but ensure they are consistent with the principles of climate justice, human rights, gender equality, and inter-generational equity,” he said.

Mwangi Waituru, who represented international NGOs operating in Africa, asked President William Ruto’s government to make the upcoming Africa Climate Summit planning open and participatory.

“The regional NGOs are concerned that Kenya is not involving others in planning and execution of the summit. This can result in money loss if the document does not address human interest,” said Waituru said.

The statement has been signed by over 1,500 organisations asking African leaders to engage all players.