Publication West Africa - Socio-ecological Transformation - Climate Justice West Africa in the Throes of Climate Crisis

Building popular power for climate justice in one of the world’s most vulnerable regions



February 2022

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West Africa is one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to climate change. Warming in West Africa is greater than the global average, and this trend is expected to continue into the near future.

The 6th Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms that most of Africa has already warmed by more than 1 degree since 1901, with an increase in heatwaves and hot days. The impacts of climate change in West Africa will be severe in both the 1.5-degree and 2.0-degree scenarios. It is also projected that the West and Central Africa regions will see a high number of hot days within each of these scenarios.

African policy makers and governments have become adept at quickly adopting blueprints and false solutions like “smart agriculture” Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest degradation (REDD+), or carbon credits, which fall short of addressing the real problems in any meaningful way. Adopting these narrow responses impose bizarre policies on communities, farmers, and forest dependent people, while effectively alienating them from any real efforts at addressing the climate crisis, even when they are often the most impacted.

For West Africa, true climate justice means that those most impacted should have a voice in crafting the solutions. For several of these frontline communities, those real solutions involve defending lands and water bodies from mindless “extractivism” and pollution, mega-projects, and industrial agriculture; while at the same time supporting and promoting transformative economies through agroecology, building community-owned and -controlled energy democracies, food sovereignty, and just transitions. It is pertinent that all these actors across the region work together towards building popular power and supporting climate justice actions based on a shared understanding of the connectedness of the climate crisis and the need for common concerted responses.

The outcome of COP26 held recently in Glasgow shows that help is not coming anytime soon for vulnerable communities in the region. While there are strong continental climate justice movements, the contributions from the West African region to these continental struggles need to be improved on to ensure that its peculiarities are adequately fed into wider struggles. This booklet seeks to provide an impetus for conversations around how organizations, networks, and movements in the region can enrich their engagement and participation in existing pan-African climate justice platforms.

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West Africa in the Throes of Climate Crisis

Published by the Health of Mother Earth Foundation
Researched and written by Ubrei-Joe Mariere Maimoi with inputs from Stephen Oduware, Magdalene Idiang, and Cadmus Atake-Enade
Sponsored by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation with funds of the Federal Ministry for Economic cooperation and Department of the Federal Republic of Germany. This publication or parts of it can be used for free as long as they provide a proper reference to the original publication

The content of the publication is the sole responsibility of HOMEF and does not necessarily reflect the position of foundation