Although it is responsible for less than four per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions, climate experts are unanimous that Africa’s limited resource capacity makes it most vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change. Yet there is little coverage of climate change issues to engage the youth and general public to understand the socio-economic implications of climate change, their contribution to climate change and the response they can bring through mitigation and adaptation practices. And where there has been any coverage, climate change dialogue has focused on Western social context and norms.
With little consideration of how the issue of climate change can be framed in countries with different macro-scale normalising values in the public sphere, developing countries, and especially Africa are faced with challenges related to:
- Lack of public preparedness for practical action on the ground against climate change.
- Lack of a media that has adequate comprehension of climate terminology alongside editorial support to address factual and narrative challenges that facilitate climate change policy implementation within a developing economy context.
- Lack of knowledge and capacity among government personnel to marshal technical and strategic information or the negotiation skills to influence national and international diplomatic agendas on climate change.
To tackle these challenges, Waterclan identifies key building blocks around which to develop programmes and activities that will support developing economies prepare for collective action against climate change. This include:
1. Developing a shared understanding of the long-term goals for climate policy.
The voluntary nature of collective action means that each individual country has to be committed to playing their part in responding to the challenge. This commitment comes from the understanding that climate change is a serious and urgent issue, and that through cooperation the risks can be reduced to the benefit of all.
2. Building the institution for effective cooperation.
The current institutions for monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions, established under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol are basically sound. They have laid the important foundations and should form a key element of continuing cooperation. But they are just a beginning: the challenge now is to expand the scale of activities and put them on a secure footing for sustained and long-term action. This is how we intend to link awareness to actions.
3. Creating the conditions for collective action
This entails promoting broad participation in actions to reduce global emissions to a level consistent with the stabilisation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by engaging the youth and other stakeholder groups.