Global Civil Society Network Urges African Unity “against climate injustice” During COP27

Tasneem Essop. Credit: Courtesy Photo

There is need for Africans “to stand united” in their fighting “against Climate injustice” ahead of the UN climate conference COP27 scheduled to take place in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, from November 6-18, the Executive Director of Climate Action Network (CAN), has said.

Tasneem Essop who heads CAN, a global network of over 1,800 civil society organizations in more than 130 countries with the role to drive collective and sustainable action to fight the climate crisis and to achieve social and racial justice, was addressing  participants during the Monday, October 17 virtual conference, which members of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) and members of the African Climate Dialogues steering committee organized to launch their communiqué ahead of COP27.

The South Africa-based expert on climate, energy, poverty and social justice issues who lauded the Catholic Church and African civil societies for bringing together different voices ahead of COP 27 said, “African voices need to be heard in Sharm El Sheikh and this communiqué will be Africa’s voice during this meeting.”

Ms. Essop added, “I do want to already acknowledge that the demands and the recommendations emerging out of the communiqué are very aligned to our network, a global network operating in over 130 countries.”

“It does appear as if the unity of voice, the consensus that we have built up between faith-based organizations, civil society and other leaders is really important because it's in that unity that we should be able to push for an outcome at COP 27 that in fact talks to the priorities and needs, especially of those most vulnerable in Africa and around the world,” the Executive Director of CAN said.


“Africa and other poor nations must be united in their demands to fight against climate injustice,” she further said, and added, “Africa, the poor and the vulnerable across the world need to stand united for a common good, for our common home, and for climate justice.”

Reflecting on Pope Francis' Encyclical Letter on the environment, Laudato Si', Ms. Essop said she found it regrettable that countries around the world have ignored the “inspirational message” from the Papal document.

“The world unfortunately did not listen to the inspiration that came out of Laudato Si’, did not take the voice of faith-based organizations and civil society seriously enough, that is why we are witnessing that we have moved backwards instead of forward,” she said.

Ms. Essop added, “The trends emerging now are not just in terms of what's happening with the climate; the climate impacts are being felt far more sharply in the developing world, and especially in Africa, but we have also seen trends that are really working against the very important theme of taking care of our common home and to act in the interest of the common good.”

“As we speak right now, there is no funding for addressing loss and damage in the global sphere,” the CAN Executive Director told the dozens of representatives of various organizations who participated in the October 17 virtual conference.

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She continued, “We know that rich nations did not deliver their obligation of 100 billion dollars per annum by 2020. This is a huge injustice.”

“We are so happy to hear that the communiqué addresses the demand to establish a loss and damage finance facility so that the funds can be provided to address the impacts that many of the poor and vulnerable are facing across the world, the ones who are least responsible for the climate crisis in the first place and that is a fundamental injustice,” Ms. Essop said.

In the communiqué that the First Vice President of SECAM read out on October 17 on behalf of Catholic Bishops in Africa and members of the African Climate Dialogues steering committee, climate change was described as “a moral outrage”, which has plunged many populations on the African continent into deep suffering.

“Climate change is a moral outrage. It is a tragic and striking example of structural sin, facilitated by callous indifference and selfish greed. The climate crisis is leading to the destruction of our planet, the devastation of the lives of the poor, and the detriment of future generations,” Fridolin Besungu Cardinal Ambongo said.

Cardinal Ambongo added, “We, Church leaders and civil society organizations in Africa and beyond, demand world leaders, business leaders and decision makers to heed to this important communiqué, and in so doing, heed to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth.”


Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.