Unifying Climate Action: Southern Africa Explores Sustainable Responses to Climate Change

Africa’s dire climate change situation urgently demands urgent climate action and participation from all sectors, spanning from key policy-structuring parliamentarians to people in local communities who carry out the necessary action.

The African Group of Negotiators Experts Support (AGNES) hosted the Southern Africa Regional Parliamentary Meeting on Climate Change, which aimed to enhance awareness and foster parliamentary action on climate change. This convention featured comprehensive discussions on various climate-related topics such as understanding climate change, international and national commitments outlined in the Paris Agreement, and the impacts of climate change in Southern Africa.

Given the significant responsibility resting on parliamentarians who often face challenges in active climate response, the meeting was of great importance. Understanding climate change is pivotal for parliamentarians, as they are entrusted with policy formulation, laws, and their execution.

Dr. George Wamukoya, AGNES Team Lead, emphasized the urgency needed to respond to the climate crisis. He highlighted the enormous impact of frequent and severe climate risks, such as tropical cyclones, on people’s livelihoods and the economy.

“As members of parliament, you have a responsibility to our people. This must be the beginning of our dialogue. I assure you of our readiness to support and work with you,” stated George Wamukoya.

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Dr. George Wamukoya, AGNES Team Lead

Their discussions highlighted the need for increased action, given the slow implementation of climate change legislation across Africa, often due to a disconnect between climate commitments and budgetary decisions. The event facilitated collaboration and knowledge sharing, thus promoting concrete climate action across Southern Africa.

The meeting focused on addressing these issues and providing a platform for knowledge sharing and capacity building. It provided an opportunity to discuss parliaments’ role in addressing climate change and to share best practices and learned lessons.

Balázs Horváth, the UNDP Resident Representative, emphasized the significance of parliaments as vehicles for critical climate action through legislative power amidst the unrelenting march of climate change. Horváth urged the workshop to catalyze climate action and chart a path to sustainable futures one commitment at a time.

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The engagement platform enabled the discourse of practical actions for strengthening climate change laws in the SADC region and incorporating climate change into parliamentary structures and timetables. It also offered the opportunity to align national commitments with the Paris Agreement’s goals, enhance climate action that builds resilience, and promote equitable economic growth.

Hon. Mabusa Pule, Acting Minister of Environment and Tourism, Botswana, emphasized the urgent need for action and the core role of parliaments in addressing climate change. Pule also highlighted the collective goal to reinforce our adaptive capacity, promote equitable economic growth, protect the environment, empower people, and secure a prosperous future for all.

“In unity, we plant the seeds of action,” Mabusa concluded. 

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