KENYA: FBOs Organize March for Climate Action, Alongside Inaugural Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi

By Paschal Norbert

NAIROBI, SEPTEMBER 1, 2023 (CISA)- As over 15,000 delegates gather for the Africa Climate Summit 2023 hosted by the Government of Kenya in partnership with the Africa Union Commission (AUC) in Nairobi, Kenya, from September 4 to 6, next week, Faith Based Organizations and African civil society organizations have planned an African Public Protest christened the ‘The Real Africa People’s Climate March’.

According to a statement seen by CISA and shared by Prince Papa M’Kowiti, Programs Manager Laudato Si Movement-Africa (LSM). During this year’s Africa Climate Week -African civil society organizations are spearheading an alternative people’s climate assembly to mobilize businesses, other civil society groups and individuals to address the pressing challenges posed by climate change in the African context.

“This year’s event, 4th-8th September 2023 takes an innovative approach, with African civil society organizations spearheading an alternative People’s Climate Summit at the Green Park, Nairobi. This groundbreaking initiative kicks off with an African Public Protest- “The Real Africa People’s Climate March” on the 4th of September 2023 from Nyayo Stadium at 9 AM, followed by a series of events and discussions, and culminates into a People’s Climate Concert, and the beginning of the 3 day long ‘Alternative People’s Climate Assembly’,” the statement reads in part.

According to Prince Papa, “Through the “Real Africa Peoples’ Climate March,” we will be creating a space for concerned citizens to voice their demands for climate action. This march, organized by the African people is a real sentiment, urging policymakers to prioritize sustainable solutions, adaptation, and mitigation efforts across Africa.”

LSM as part of the African civil society organizations is calling on all African governments to “stop being caricatures in the Western exploitation of Africa and her resources.”

“We also add our voice in calling out the greed-driven investments in the fossil fuel industry across Africa, especially in the proposed East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline, in The Okavango delta, in Mozambique,” says the movement.

“We believe that the African governments will actively participate in the African Climate Week/Summit with an open and kind heart, open to discuss the real threats of Climate change, and climate injustices and adopt sustainable practices to safeguard the most vulnerable creation within our midst,” they add.

In the statement, the movement implores Catholics to align with the principles of environmental stewardship as outlined in Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si and oppose any proposed new fossil fuel projects in Africa, which have significant environmental and social ramifications.

Citing the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) class action lawsuit against multinational mining and metals public company BHP and its subsidiary South32 over lung diseases found in former and current employees, the movement says “Catholics can raise awareness, advocate for clean energy alternatives, and support organizations striving to protect the environment and local communities.”

Ahead of the climate summit, LSM calls for addressing the exploitation of Africa’s mineral resources by the West and recommends uniting the continent’s resources for sustainable development and the benefit of the people.

“The exploitation of Africa’s mineral resources by the West is a historical injustice that continues to impact the continent. Many African nations face economic and environmental challenges due to extractive industries. It’s imperative to foster fair and sustainable partnerships, advocate for responsible mining practices, and ensure that the benefits of resource extraction are equitably distributed among local communities,” they propose.

Explaining that “The need for African nations to unite as a cohesive continent, leveraging their natural resources in a sustainable manner, is paramount. By prioritizing intra-African cooperation, fair trade, and responsible development, the continent can create a self-reliant economy that benefits all its citizens and protects its unique ecosystems for generations to come.”