By: Sylvester Yiadom Agyei-Boachie and Michelle Shields
ARUA–CD navigates through transforming social inequalities, inclusive and transparent climate action at Africa Climate Week, in collaboration with its partners. The discussion focused on the intersection of social inequalities, policymaking, and climate action, revealing multiple dimensions and pathways towards sustainable futures in Africa.
The Africa Climate Week (ACW) 2023 held from 4-8 September in Nairobi, Kenya, hosted by the Government of Kenya was held alongside the Africa Climate Summit (ACS) which this year was run from 4-6 September, also hosted by the Government of Kenya.
ACW 2023 and all the Regional Climate Weeks were aimed at providing a platform for policymakers, practitioners, businesses and civil society to exchange on climate solutions, barriers to overcome and opportunities realized in different regions. The first global stocktake resulting from these discussions will conclude at COP28 in UAE in December of this year.
On September 8, 2023 the ARUA Centre of Excellence for Climate and Development (ARUA-CD) hosted a pivotal discussion on transforming social inequalities, inclusive and transparent climate action. This panel was based on research from the TSITICA project which explores how African societies can design and implement climate action to improve sustainable livelihoods, and reduce both poverty and inequality, working across Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and the UK. The panel included Professor George Outa (Researcher – ARUA-CD), Emily Massawa (Research Associate – ARUA-CD), Nobert Nyandire (Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT)), Velma Oseka (Climate Change Advocacy and Communications), and Sylvester Yiadom Agyei-Boachie (PhD candidate. – ARUA-CD).
During the panel discussion, titled “Transforming Social Inequalities Through Inclusive and Transparent Climate Action”, Prof. George Outa asserts, ” Climate action and social inequality debates are vital for the implementation of a comprehensive policy.” He detailed the TSITICA project’s findings, highlighting the link between policy directions, climate inequalities, and sustainable livelihoods. While nations contend with the effective implementation of climate policies, there is a discernible effort to integrate them with broader development goals, according to his explanation.
Nobert Nyandire emphasised the cardinality of the Paris Agreement’s Enhanced Transparency Framework by highlighting the importance of transparency in policymaking. ” The alignment of transparency frameworks with development goals is not discretionary; rather, it is imperative,” Nyandire emphasised while elaborating on the importance of transparency for monitoring progress in NDCs and identifying climate impacts.
Community empowerment through advocacy
Velma Oseka elaborated on the “Devolution and Climate Change Adaptation Project” by describing how vulnerable communities are reinforced by policies and programmes. In addition to providing financial assistance, the programme has been instrumental in equipping community members with advocacy skills, thereby increasing their involvement in developmental planning.
Biodiversity: a link between prosperity and climate change
Sylvester Yiadom Agyei-Boachie illuminated the interplay between biodiversity, climate change, and community livelihoods, concentrating on Lake Bosomtwe Biosphere Reserves. He elucidated how human activities and climate change transform biodiversity, resulting in disparities in community livelihoods. Agyei-Boachie explained how protecting the biosphere’s biodiversity is crucial for empowering livelihoods and a linchpin for climate adaptation and mitigation. “The intricate equilibrium between conserving biodiversity and guaranteeing a sustained livelihood is frequently disrupted by climate change and human activities” conveys Sylvester Yiadom Agyei-Boachie (ARUA-CD student).
Envisioning climate-related actions for all
During the Q&A, areas such as the integration of Indigenous knowledge into climate research, the translation of climate terminologies into local dialects, and the role of research and policies in reducing inequalities and enhancing social inclusion in Africa came to the forefront. The panellists agreed on the need to promote inclusivity in the formulation and implementation of climate change policies.
“Inclusion of local knowledge in strategies is not just about communication but also about recognising and respecting the profound understanding and insights local communities have regarding their environments and climatic patterns,” explains Emily Massawa (ARUA-CD Researcher). The side event elucidated the multifaceted challenges and paved the way for dialogue and future collaborations, establishing a step towards bridging the divide between climate action and social inequality.