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Women leaders decry low representation

Health & Science
 African Women’s Development and Communication Network executive director Memory Kachambwa. [Courtesy]

As COP28 progresses, women leaders are demanding concrete actions and financial commitments from developed nations.

Their calls are rooted in the urgency to address the diverse challenges faced by those at the frontline of the climate crisis.

Memory Kachambwa executive director at the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (known as FEMNET) expressed cautious optimism about the negotiations, acknowledging the possibility of positive outcomes but remaining mindful of the need for developed countries to uphold the spirit of the Paris Agreement.

“The slow progress in adopting decisions with direct relevance to Africa, especially on global for adaptation and its means of implementation, has been a source of frustration,” Kachambwa said.

“Negotiations on adaptation remain pivotal in building Africa’s resilience to climate change,” Kachambwa emphasised, underlining the necessity of strong adaptation measures to rectify historical and current climate injustices.

She added: “A key demand is immediate and substantial action to address the inadequacy of adaptation measures, considering the continent’s historical vulnerabilities.”

Kachambwa highlighted the importance of a complete framework with metrics and indicators to measure progress. “We want accountability,” she asserted, emphasising the need for discussions to move beyond the narrative of doubling adaptation finance without a clear baseline.

Agriculture’s central role in advancing adaptation for the climate-vulnerable people of Africa was emphasized. Kachambwa cautioned against perpetual discussions without tangible progress, urging that the plight of farmers and the impact on agriculture should not be disregarded.

Past experiences of unfulfilled pledges have left a sense of skepticism, and Kachambwa urged parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to implement tighter measures to ensure sustained commitment. Concerns were raised about existing climate finance commitments being repackaged as new pledges. Kachambwa insisted that funding for loss and damage must be additional and incremental, providing a lifeline for communities grappling with climate-induced disasters.

“The deceit that characterises these commitments must be addressed once and for all,” Kachambwa declared, calling for new and additional measures to ensure transparency globally.

Hillary Clinton said that the lack of women around the negotiating tables at Cop28 is a major concern and that the “tide has been turned” against the voices of women being heard in recent years.

“In many of the governments that are represented here at Cop, there are no women,” the former US secretary of state told a packed audience at an event at the Dubai Expo Centre. “How do we get the concerns of women to be heard? That’s what events like these are about. We also have to be cautious that now we are swimming against the tide, and the tide has been turned against women in many parts of the world,” she said.

Ms Clinton was speaking at an event highlighting the critical role of women’s leadership in tackling the climate crisis, and also the growing impacts of extreme heat on women and girls in vulnerable communities.

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