By Sherpard Zvigadza and Joseph Madzvamuse, Zimbabwe Regional Environmental Organization (ZERO)
As world nations warm up to the COP17 International Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, NGOs from six Southern African countries joined the tempo by gathering recently in Johannesburg from 29-30 August, to spruce up their networks and partnerships so as join the jamboree with one common voice that will bolster their options and positions for the crucial negotiations. Countries represented seven countries in Southern Africa and informed the meeting about the networks in their countries; what they are doing, their successes and challenges. This created a basis for discussion and debate.
Participants at the meeting represented Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana, South Africa, and Kenya and the COP 17 Caravan of Hope Campaign by PACJA
The networks presented strategies on how they can work together for the betterment of most vulnerable communities and ensure a stronger and binding outcome from the negotiations. This is quite critical for African countries as they are the hardest hit by climate change as the face of the continent is already changing due to prolonged droughts, floods, unpredictable rains and subsequent crop failures.
WWF South Africa focused on the COP negotiations modalities which included negotiation for certain texts, finance mechanisms for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Of importance to note from the presentation was the issue of how networks or can become effective at COP 17 in Durban. It highlighted the need for networks to have clear objectives for participation at the event. This included having the right information on the issues being negotiated, tactics for effective lobbying and advocacy as well as targeting messaging and communications.
One of the key focuses on climate change is adaptation. In order to share and achieve similar goals there is need for improved regional coordination of networks, sharing of experiences and capacity building on adaptation. The meeting noted that this could be achieved through engagements with respective governments on climate change legislation or policies, climate change policy development and capacity building of policy makers and local communities.
The meeting was organized by Zimbabwe based ZERO Regional Environment Organization and Indigo-South Africa and is coming at a time when developing nations, particularly African countries are clamouring to be heard and their demands met by developed countries.
This article is a short version – to read the full article with details and citations from the participating networks, click here.
COP16 reports, Mama Koite Doumbia & Maimouna Konare