Category Archives: Climate Change

UNCCD short writting-contest 2015



Theme: Land nurturing people nurturing life

The UNCCD is pleased to announce its first Short Writing Contest. The theme is ‘Land nurturing people nurturing life
  • How would you express your relationship with land in a poem?
  • ​What does land mean to you?
  • Do you know any proverb about land in your country? Is it still relevant in your today’s life?
We welcome all literary expressions and styles, from a very short Haiku-style to a short story of up to 500 words. Entries must be written in English.
There are two categories:
(1) University Students and General Public
(2) Children and Youth in High-School and Below.
The winner of the first category will receive US$500, the second US$300.
Please note that all shortlisted entries will be checked for plagiarism. Plagiarized works will be disqualified from the competition.
Deadline for receiving the application is 15 May 2015.
Please fill in the form which is available on this page, and send it either by:
Fax: +49 228 815 2898
Postal mail: UNCCD Library, UN Campus, PO Box 260129, 53153 Bonn, Germany
The winner will be announced on the UNCCD website on 17 June 2015, the World Day to Combat Desertification.

Statement of The African Women’s Groups at the Fourth Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa: Marrakech, Morocco


Africa Can Feed Africa


We, the African Women Groups who gathered in the Marrakech, the city of Morocco for the fourth conference on climate change and development in Africa with the theme “Africa Can Feed Africa Now” translating climate knowledge into actions that took place from 9th to 10th October 2014, express our gratitude to the organizers of the conference for the opportunity to work together for the development of our continent with development partners, leaders and committed people from all over the world.

We applaud the decision of the meeting of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) resolution Assembly/AU/Dec538 (xx111) to specifically initiate a programme that focuses on addressing the challenges of climate change that impacts on Women in Africa.

We are witnessing greater commitment of our leaders to addressing the challenges and impact of climate change, which is threatening our eco-systems, and the concerns of our continent for the survival. We further applaud the emphasis put by our leaders on women’s, youth and civil society participation and inclusion on all climate change initiatives.

While we appreciate and welcome the laudable initiatives of our heads of states and governments to ensuring that Africa Can Feed Africa,

We call on our governments;

§ To ensure the provision and means for the full realisation and implementation of these worthy initiatives and resolutions.

§ Development partners and other relevant stakeholders to support gender research and full documentation of impact of climate change on gender; build the capacity of women to participate in key decision making processes;

§ We appreciate the gradual but slow advancement and transformation of African women’s access to formal education and technology and call upon African governments, to tap into these changes and increase women’s access to productive resources such as land, transfer of and enhancement of indigenous technology, credit, fertilizers etc.

§ Integrate gender into climate change policies and agreement, which takes into consideration the different needs of men and women.

§ African Can Feed Africa but this cannot be realistically achieved without women’s involvement. We call for the transformation of the gender roles, inequalities between men and women in terms of access, control and ownership of reproductive resources.

§ We fully support the focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency, especially being aware about the devastating consequences of women vulnerability to energy poverty. We call upon the governments to take cognizance of the negative impacts of renewable energy such as big hydropower plants or mono crop plantations for biofuels, which exacerbate the suffering of women farmers

§ We call upon our governments to ensure stakeholders engagement and especially public participation, including women participation – is crucial in the design and implementation of affordable, available and accessible sustainable renewable and energy efficiency solutions.

§ We route for the strengthening of the African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change, a body that is crucial in the mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage of climate change actions in the continent.

In conclusion, we, African women affirm our commitment to ensuring that Africa feeds Africa through pragramatic gender responsive interventions to Climate Change.

Priscilla M Achakpa
On behalf of the African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change (AWGGCC)

8th-10thOctober 2014, Marrakech, Morocco

Major Groups and Stakeholders Bring Civil Society Perspectives to Inaugural UN Environment Assembly (UNEA)


The shaping of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), the illegal trade in wildlife, and sustainable consumption and production (SCP), were among the major topics discussed during the 15th Global Major Groups and Stakeholder Forum (GMGSF), which took place on the eve of the inaugural session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA).


A series of regional meetings were held by major groups and stakeholders around the world in the months leading up to UNEA. In all, 273 participants, representing indigenous peoples, Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), science and technology, business and industry, farmers, women, children and youth, workers and trade unions, and local authorities – participated in six regional consultations to prepare key messages and recommendations to feed into UNEA proceedings and outcomes.


A highlight of the event was an interactive discussion with UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) . In his welcome remarks, Mr. Steiner said that despite some setbacks, notably in the climate change negotiations, there is broad consensus today that environmental protection requires addressing the relationship between humanity and nature. In this regard, he welcomed the return of the principle of universality in the SDGs process, but noted that the greatest challenge facing environmental governance today is helping societies to make informed decisions that do not dichotomize people and nature, or the North and South.


Another feature of the forum was a series of civil society presentations on a range of environmental themes, including the critical role of civil society in the shaping of the SDGs. “Unlike the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were formulated with less input from civil society; the SDGs and UNEA processes are encouraging the participation of a diverse civil society stakeholder base, to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups’ are taken into account, and that there is broad support for the implementation of the SDGs,” said Sascha Gabizon, Director of Women International for a Common Future.
The forum’s nine thematic clusters covered most UNEA themes, and provided stakeholders with a critical opportunity to influence the upcoming Ministerial discussions on SDGs and the post – 2015 Agenda.

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The Global Day for Action for Our Environment: Raise Your Voices, Not the Sea Level

The Global Day for Action for Our Environment: Raise Your Voices, Not the Sea Level

Today as we mark World Environment Day (WED) 2014, the maxim “we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” is worth reflecting on! I find it both inspirational and tragic – inspirational in the sense that each one of us has a responsibility to preserve and protect our environment for ourselves and the future generations, and tragic because so many of us are still acting selfish, shortsighted and slow in action, yet there is no time!

This year, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is calling on us to raise our voices and continue creating awareness on the impact of climate change on small islands states around the world.

Why focus on the Small Islands States?
According to the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), there are 44 small islands states, drawn from all oceans and regions of the world – Africa, Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Pacific and South China Sea – constituting 5% of the global population.

The unique situation of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) was acknowledged at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, in that although SIDS are among the least responsible of all nations for climate change, they are likely to suffer strongly from its adverse effects and could in some cases even become uninhabitable, if no appropriate action is taken. This makes them such a special case requiring the help and attention of the international community. In actual fact, governments have agreed that concerted action is needed to address SIDS development for the sake of future generations.

According to the 2005 UNFCCC Report, “small island developing States share certain characteristics that underscore their special vulnerability to climate change, climate variability and sea-level rise – for example many have a high concentration population, socio-economic activities, and infrastructure along the coastal zone; they are highly susceptible to frequent and more intense tropical cyclones (hurricanes) and to associated storm surge, droughts, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions; they are more dependent on water resources for freshwater supply that are highly sensitive to sea-level changes; they have insufficient financial, technical and institutional capacities, seriously limiting the capacity of SIDS to mitigate and adapt to any adverse impacts of climate change etc.”

So, How Do We Raise Our Voices?
The year 2014 has been designated by the UN as the International Year of Small Island Developing States , presenting a historic opportunity to mobilize global action and partnership in support of SIDS.

Again, in September (1st to 4th), the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States will be held in Apia, Samoa, and will seek to among other things to galvanize genuine and durable partnerships for action on issues such as climate change, oceans, waste, sustainable tourism and disaster risk reduction.

Last month, the UN Secretary General cited examples of climate action by SIDS who are helping to point the way to a sustainable future. These actions include the Pacific Islands which is demonstrating real global leadership in transiting to a new era in energy use and production, Tokelau has become the first territory in the world to generate 100 per cent of its power from renewable energy, while the government of Fiji, is demonstrating its commitment to support sustainable energy for all through concrete actions.

Ahead of the famed Ban Ki-Moon Climate Summit to be convened in New York on the 23rd September 2014, the US and China, two leading greenhouse gas emitters, have recently announced that they too are stepping up their climate action plans as we move towards a new international climate agreement in 2015. As the Co-Chair of the IPPC Working Group II, Chris Field notes, “fundamentally, the challenge of managing climate change is a challenge of managing and reducing risk. We know plenty, but we need a transition from the perspective of knowing lots to doing lots.” We truly need political will, as well as real climate actions.

But let’s forget the governments, the corporations, the UNs etc….you and I have a responsibility to do something for our immediate environment. It may look small and insignificant but with time will grow into a large-scale action that can be replicated by others within our circles of influence. So, as Doug Stuart challenges us in his blog Climate Change: Another Perspective, the greatest impact we can have on climate to correct the imbalance, to heal our Mother Earth, is to change our own thinking (and actions), to change the microclimate of ourselves and radiate out in healing waves to correct the macroclimate. Each of us has the same power and the same responsibility. After all, isn’t that what the late Nobel Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai meant when she narrated the story of the humming bird?


Rachel Kagoiya, Information Manager at the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) can be reached on






Climate-Smart Agriculture is Improving the Lives of Millions in the World


The Climate-smart agriculture – Success stories from farming communities around the world  published by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) showcases 16 examples of successful climate-smart agriculture from both developed and developing countries. These initiatives are having a widespread impact on food security, adaptation to climate change and climate change mitigation, and are being implemented over vast areas and improving the lives of millions of people.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines climate-smart agriculture as consisting of three main pillars:

  • sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes (food security);
  • adapting and building resilience to climate change (adaptation); and
  • reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation), where possible.

But what exactly is “climate-smart agriculture? Broadly speaking, it consists of proven practical techniques, such as mulching, intercropping, conservation agriculture, crop rotation, integrated crop-livestock management, agro-forestry, improved grazing, and improved water management, together with innovative practices, such as better weather forecasting, drought- and flood-tolerant crops, and crop and livestock insurance.

“… climate-smart agriculture can and does make a difference to millions of people’s lives.”

Source: Blog by Dr. Bruce Campbell, Director CCAFS

2014, The Year for Collective Climate Action: We are Watching!



Climate change is now a lived reality in many countries – what with the drastic and detrimental effects being felt through erratic rainfalls, droughts, tropical cyclones, heat waves, wildfires, landslides, floods, hurricanes as well as the gradual degradation of the environment. All these negatively impacting on our agriculture and food security; biodiversity and ecosystems; water resources; human health; human settlements and migration patterns; and energy, transport and industry[1].

In 2014, one key event to be on the look-out for is the Climate Summit to be held in New York in September 2014. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited Heads of State and Government along with business, finance, civil society and local leaders to come together not to negotiate but rather to offer solutions for climate action. In his article for LinkedIN’s titled ‘Big idea 2014′ the UN Chief says “in 2014, we must turn the greatest collective challenge facing humankind today – climate change – into the greatest opportunity for common progress towards a sustainable future”. Among other things, the Summit is intended to mobilize political commitment for the conclusion of the universal and legally-binding comprehensive agreement to be signed in 2015. This is ahead of negotiations for the 20th and 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Lima, Peru (December 2014) and ultimately Paris, France (December 2015). It is hoped that the Summit will also spur action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen community adaptation strategies. Of course, beyond such global negotiations, interpreting the agreements for national implementation is crucial.

Needless to say, combating climate change is everyone’s business as it poses a clear danger to our lives and livelihoods. Each one of us has a critical role to play.

In Mali, the Minister of Environment and Sanitation, Mr. Ousmane Ag. Rhissa has invited the youth, women and men in Mali to join hands “every month, for one day, to clean-up our environment”. This he said during the opening session of the COGECLIMA[2] Capacity Building Workshop held in Bamako, Mali from 14th to 16th January 2014. Mr. Rhissa applauded the role played by the civil society organizations such as FEMNET-Mali in protecting and managing the environment and especially in climate change adaptation and mitigation projects. He noted that existing environmental and climate change policies need to be backed by a change in behaviour in how people manage and protect their own personal and communal environments. Indeed, cleaning the environment is everyone’s responsibility and not just the government’s.

African countries are highly vulnerable to climate changes effects such as droughts and irregular rainfall because much of their economy is highly dependent on rain-fed agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and livestock. According to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)’s African Agriculture and Climate Change Country Summaries, “climate change is having far-reaching consequences for the poor and marginalized groups, among which the majority depend on agriculture for their livelihoods and have a lower capacity to adapt. This situation becomes more desperate and threatens the very survival of the most vulnerable farmers as global warming continues.”

As Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) dialogue on the theme of “Transforming Africa’s Agriculture: Harnessing Opportunities for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development” during the ongoing 22nd AU Summit taking place  from 21st to 31st January 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – it is critical that they not only explore ways and commit to integrate climate change into the planning and implementation of sustainable agricultural strategies in their countries but also that any, and all climate change interventions/ strategies/ practices are gender-responsive.

By and large, Africa needs to adopt a common voice in defining her role in the emerging Global Alliance on Climate Smart Agriculture to be launched at the September 2014 Climate Summit.

Written by Rachel Kagoiya, Information Manager at FEMNET. Email:


[2] COGECLIMA is a coalition of different networks in Mali working to improve the livelihoods of women, men and youth through capacity building, advocacy and information sharing on issues such as: climate change adaptation and mitigation; gender equality as well as water and sanitation. FEMNET-Mali is among the founding members.

Towards Gender-Responsive Climate Change Policies and Initiatives: the UNFCCC Goal of Gender Balance


In the last twenty years, gender equality has increasingly been recognized as a critical crosscutting issue in major multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). In 1992, Agenda 21 set the stage with Chapter 24, stating: “Women have considerable knowledge and experience in managing and conserving natural resources.” By 2013, many legal instruments and norm-setting agreements integrate text that promotes gender equality and women’s rights, including across the three key United Nations environmental agreements: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)[1].

The UNFCCC agreement seeks to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system” and since 1995, the 195 countries (commonly referred to as parties) that have ratified the Convention have been meeting annually at the Conference of Parties (COP) to assess progress being made in dealing with climate change.

In December 2012, at its eighteenth session, the conference of parties (COP) adopted a decision on promoting gender balance and improving the participation of women in UNFCCC negotiations and in the representation of Parties in bodies established pursuant to the Convention or the Kyoto Protocol. The goal of gender balance (Decision 23/CP.18), seeks to promote gender balance and improve women’s participation and particularly inform more effective climate change policy that addresses the needs of women and men equally.

Parties and observer organizations were requested to submit to the UNFCCC Secretariat their views on options and ways to advance the goal of gender balance and the deadline for these submissions was set for 2 September 2013. Only 15 countries (a paltry 8%) made their submissions as posted on the UNFCCC website and 7 of these are African countries i.e. Sudan, Liberia, Malawi, Kenya, Mozambique, Burundi and Ghana. The Observer organizations to the UNFCCC that made submissions include:- UN Women, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), LIFE e.V., GenderCC-Women for Climate Justice, Women’s Environment and Development Network (WEDO), Heinrich Böll Stiftung (HBF) and the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice (MRFCJ).

FEMNET has been working closely with IEWM and CCN-Kenya as part of immediate follow up actions as agreed during a Roundtable discussion held on 25th July 2013. In the month of August 2013 we held advocacy meetings with the key officials in the Ministry of Environment in Kenya as well as the National Gender and Equality Commission to formerly share the Kenya CSOs recommendations on views on options and ways to advance the goal of gender balance and lobby their inclusion in those that the Kenyan government would be presenting to UNFCCC before 2nd September 2013.

The submissions by parties and observer organizations is one part of the equation towards realizing gender-responsive climate change policies. The other part of the equation (or let’s say the litmus test) will be the translation of these commitments as a lead up to COP 19 in November 2013 in Warsaw, Poland and beyond.

Some good indicators will for instance be an increase in the number of women delegates (especially lead negotiators) as well conducting training to build the capacity of delegates before COP19 so as to ensure effective participation and inclusion of gender considerations in the climate change negotiations. UNFCCC Secretariat will be convening a gender workshop to consider gender balance, capacity building and gender-sensitive climate policy.

According to the Women’s Environment and Development Network (WEDO) “equitable participation of women in climate change decision making can provide the crosscutting experiences necessary for climate change policies that embody social equity that reflects and serves the needs of society. However, beyond the understanding of either women’s vulnerabilities to or potential leadership in mitigating and adapting to climate change, equity in decision making comes down to a simple notion:  If it weren’t for underlying institutional and societal inequities, why wouldn’t half the population be represented in equal numbers in decision-making?

In August 2013, ahead of the 2nd September deadline for parties and observer organizations to submit their views and options, WEDO, in partnership with the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA) and the UNFCCC Secretariat released a publication titled ‘Gender Equality and the UNFCCC: A Compilation of Decision Text.’ The publication, which compiles gender-responsive language from all UNFCCC agreements, is a great reference tool for climate change and gender experts, policymakers and practitioners for mitigating and adapting to climate change in a gender transformative approach. The publication definitely serves as a useful tool to remind all stakeholders of the foundation upon which to continue working towards truly sustainable development.

Written by Rachel Kagoiya, Information Manager at the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) – email:

[1] 2013. Gender Equality and the UNFCCC: A Compilation of Decision Text by WEDO, GGCA & UNFCCC