Thursday 16 February 2023- On the session of the 42nd ordinary session of the Executive Council of the African Union, in preparation for the Summit of the Union to be held on February 18 and 19, MFA Nasser Bourita co-chaired, on February 16, 2023 in Addis Ababa, a luncheon under the theme “the Intersecting Challenges of Climate Change and the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda”.
Speaking on this occasion, Mr. Bourita stressed that African women suffer most from conflicts, violence and forced displacement as a result of climate change, noting that they do not fully participate in decision-making processes related to adaptation and mitigation.
Emphasizing the leadership of African states in shaping the climate agenda and strengthening women's participation in this area, Bourita recalls that at the First African Action Summit, chaired by HM King Mohammed VI in Marrakech in 2016, African heads of state committed to promoting the required adaptation policies and measures that are also catalysts for deep structural transformation on the economic and social levels in Africa.
"We can only achieve effective adaptation and mitigation if we take into account the gender impacts of climate change and promote women's participation," said the Minister, noting that there can be no climate resilience without gender equality, which allows women to fully enjoy their rights in the context of the dramatic impacts of climate change.
This meeting on the intersecting challenges of climate change and the WPS Agenda, held at the African Union headquarters, stems from Morocco's commitment to stimulate new thinking to address Africa's traditional and emerging challenges and transform them into real opportunities for regional and sub-regional partnerships, he said, noting that the Kingdom is firmly convinced that these challenges should not be a reason for division, but "a catalyst for collective action within our Organization."
While Africa accounts for only 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it bears much of the burden of climate change, Bourita said.
Noting that climate change is a multiplier of threats in Africa more than in any other region, the Moroccan minister cited HM the King's speech at the Summit of Heads of State and Government on drought and sustainable land management, held on May 9, 2022, in whichthe Sovereign stressed that "when environmental security is threatening, that affects food security, human security and, in fact, all matters relating to security in general."
This reality can be illustrated through three examples others, he noted, referring to the increasing demand for water, drought and erratic rainfall that disrupts food systems, with up to 250 million Africans affected by water stress.
Second, the continent is experiencing natural disasters at a faster rate than before, displacing more than 2.5 million Africans by 2021, he said, adding that the third example is that resource scarcity caused by climate change is giving rise to conflicts between different social groups and providing fertile ground for violent extremism.
A holistic approach to human security therefore lays the foundation for synergies between the Climate Agenda and the WPS Agenda, Bourita, noting that in this regard, Morocco has always taken the view that the WPS Agenda is not a technical plan, but a political platform and a transformative action program that involves states and other stakeholders, including civil society, academia and the private sector.
Welcoming the "considerable" efforts made by African states and the AU in implementing the WPS Agenda at the continental level, he said that "in line with the Royal Vision for the promotion of equality between men and women as the foundation of a modern and democratic society, Morocco's National Action Plan, launched last March at the UN, is based on a comprehensive approach with the active participation of civil society.”
This plan addresses three priority areas, specific preventive diplomacy, mediation, peacekeeping and the promotion of a culture of peace, as well as the economic empowerment of women, he noted, expressing Morocco's readiness to share its experience in developing its National Action Plan with African countries, within the framework of South-South cooperation, in order to promote national ownership of this agenda.
As president of the Peace and Security Council in October 2022, Morocco has launched a fruitful debate on the link between climate change, Covid-19, conflict and gender-based violence, Bourita stressed, saying that strong multilateral cooperation at the AU and UN level is needed to fill the political and normative gap in this area.
HM King Mohammed VI's leadership in mobilizing collective action to address the urgent challenges of climate change in Africa was highly promoted by participants in this ministerial meeting.
Participants in this high-level meeting chaired by Mr. Bourita, with the participation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of African States and European countries, the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Commissioners of the African Union, international partners, UN Women, and civil society, recalls their commitment to the Declaration of the First African Action Summit, held in Marrakech on November 16, 2016, on the conference of the COP 22.
Participants welcome the holding of this meeting, in the context of the crucial challenges posed by climate change and its impacts on international peace and security and women's security, empowerment and participation, especially in Africa.
They stressed the need for member states to support the African Climate Commissions established by the African Action Summit organized at the initiative of His Majesty King Mohammed VI on the session of COP22 in Marrakech in 2016. They expressed their gratitude to the Kingdom of Morocco and the African Union Commission for organizing this high-level event, and approving their continued commitment to fostering effective and action-oriented action to address the intersecting challenges of climate change and women, peace, and security agenda.
They further expressed their appreciation for the Kingdom's strong commitment to gender equality and the promotion of women's rights as the foundation for Africa's emergence.
Recalling that Africa suffers the least to climate change while most of its adverse consequences, they emphasize the specific impact of climate change on African island states and the Sahel states.
They expressed concern about the threats posed by climate change to peace, security, stability and prosperity on the African continent, and further highlighted the effects of climate change on African women.
The creation of a Group of Friends on the intersecting challenges of climate change and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, an initiative of the Kingdom, was announced during this event by Mr. Bourita.
The Group of Friends on the cross-cutting challenges of climate change and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda which has just been launched "will allow senior officials from different sides to support this exercise so that the nexus Women, Peace and Climate Change can be an element present in all our interactions and at all levels," said Mr. Bourita at this high-level event.
"The Group of Friends on the intersecting challenges of climate change and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda should be seen as a diverse coalition, especially not African, but open to all those who share the same vision and approach to these issues," added the Minister who chaired this high-level event which was marked by the participation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of African States and European countries, the Vice-Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the Commissioners of the African Union, international partners, international organizations, UN Women, and civil society, in order to intensify the political mobilization of African States in these strategic areas.
This initiative is a success, said the Minister, noting that "today everyone is aware that Africa does not need documents, Africa does not need projects, does not need ideas (...), Africa needs interaction with its partners, support with its partners."
Africa "must set the example, it must take ownership of its own projects and begin to provide its own answers before interacting with its partners," said Bourita.
"You can count on the Kingdom of Morocco. In accordance with the instructions of HM King Mohammed VI we will support this initiative, we will implement the Tangier Declaration and we will back the implementation of this Group of Friends to make it a real coalition, " said the minister.
Placed under the theme "the intersecting challenges of climate change and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Africa", this event organized on the conference of the 42nd session of the Executive Council of the African Union, comes within the framework of the implementation by Morocco of its first National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), launched on 23 March 2022.
This Plan is a platform for action on preventive diplomacy, mediation and peacekeeping, the promotion of a culture of peace and equality, and the economic participation of women. This initiative is in line with the High Orientations of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, as contained in His Speech on the occasion of the 23rd Throne Day, for the promotion of gender equality and women's rights as the foundations of a modern and democratic society.
The holding of this event was a success by the quality of the presence and allowed the implementation of this approach. "In relation to global challenges, only an approach of cooperation, only an approach of interaction would be effective," said Bourita.
This event is a beginning of a coalition for action: "less talk, more action", said the Minister in a speech on this occasion.
This ministerial meeting was also held in the context of the common vision of Morocco and the African Union for a sustainable emergence of Africa and the role of African women in addressing the challenge of climate change.