President Zuma's representative signing the petition
Photo: James Akena/PACJA
As I write this blog, we are about 400km away from Durban. This is after we have successfully come all the way from Burundi through Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and finally South Africa all in 17 days.
It has not been easy but it’s definitely worth striving for a CLIMATE JUSTICE outcome of COP17. Earlier on in the day the caravanites had a match to the Union Building in Pretoria. We expected to be received by the President of the Republic of South Africa H.E Jacob Zuma (who instead sent a representative).
This did not stop the caravinites from shouting out loud the messages they have collected along the way from the various countries like:
Polluters must Pay
Kyoto must not die in Africa
Climate Justice Now
This went on and on. One could hardly tell these were the people who had arrived in Pretoria at noon and only had one-hour rest before the match. This is how serious the African people take the COP17 that is going to be on our own soil. We want to remind the African leaders to commit themselves to a common African position and demand that the polluters pay!
A farmer from Burundi, Nizigama Sylvane then made remarks placing her emphasis on the African WOMAN and how climate changes are making the role of feeding the family very difficult. A 70 year-old farmer, Okongo Paul from Kenya stressed the need to maintain the climate for the sake of children clear. He said the children are innocent and need to be treated as such.
The President’s representative then delivered a message of solidarity with the rest of Africa. She then signed the same petition that the people of the 10 different countries along our 7000km drive had also signed. It urges all African leaders to stand with one voice for Africa during COP17 on three key positions:
Keep Africa and the world safe and prevent catastrophic climate change. Exert pressure on developed countries and ensure that they sign up to legally binding commitments that reduce emissions and limit global warming to well below 1.5°C
Share the effort of curbing climate change fairly. Demand domestic emission reductions by developed countries that are commensurate with science and equity, and enable a just transition in all countries
Ensure polluters not the poor must pay. Developed countries must honour their obligations and pay at least 1.5% of their GNP to help the poor adapt and develop cleanly and sustainably