The climate crisis that is unfolding in many parts of Africa should be addressed urgently in order to cushion local communities from widespread hunger, poverty, water stress and communicable diseases, green campaigners said on Friday.
Speaking ahead of the 35th African Union (AU) Heads of State summit slated for February 5-6, the campaigners noted that climate change has posed existential threat to survival of communities in the continent, urging political goodwill to boost mitigation and adaptation.
"Climate change has cast a dark shadow on future development and prosperity in Africa and must be acted upon as a matter of urgency to protect lives, ecosystems from further damage," said Mithika Mwenda, the executive director of Nairobi-based Pan African Climate Justice Alliance in a statement issued in Nairobi.
The Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa will this weekend play host to the annual African leaders summit under the theme of "Building resilience in nutrition on the African continent: Accelerate the human capital, social and economic development".
Mwenda said the two-day summit that will take place against a backdrop of COVID-19 related disruptions should prioritize action on climate emergencies as a means to realize a resilient and green future for the continent.
Nyaguthii Chege, hub director for East Africa at Natural Justice, a Pan African environmental rights lobby, said the continent was well positioned to accelerate transition to a greener future subject to progressive leadership and greater community engagement in restoring degraded ecosystems.
According to Nyaguthii, the 27th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) slated for Egypt in November offers an opportunity for Africa to raise its green ambitions.
Imali Ngusale, an official at Nairobi-based African Women's Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) said the continent should pay greater attention to the climate crisis that was taking a heavier toll on women, children, girls and the rural poor.
Ngusale stressed that competing priorities like the pandemic, economic downturn and civil disturbances should not be an excuse for African countries to push the green agenda to the periphery.
Zambe Mobanda, a senior officer at Pan African Network of Parliamentarians for Climate Change said the continent should prioritize local actions that can hasten transition to a low-carbon future.