A continent long neglected, Africa can no longer be ignored. The era during which our
Continent was treated as a mere object in international relations is over. Africa is progressing and is asserting itself in the international arena. Today, it is an active, respected partner in the debate on global governance.» These were the words of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, of Morocco in his message to the 27th Summit of the African Union in Kigali on July 17, 2016.
This is a vision shared by the Pan African Women network, a network of media women in Africa, whose aim is to contribute to public awareness and raise their voices in all the 54 countries on the continent on pertinent issues.
Instituted in 2017 by Radio 2M of Morocco, the launch of this first continental initiative of Les Panafricaines brought together more than 100 media women from various media houses in Africa. They deliberated on the theme of Reconciliation.
A second edition was held in 2018 and this brought together more than 200 women journalists from all 54 African countries. The women discussed the theme: "African Migrations: a chance for the continent, a responsibility for the media". The second meeting was meant to strengthen the network and its action capacity, through a concrete plan of media initiatives aimed at shedding light on the realities and the specifics of the African migratory phenomena.
Over 300 African women journalists are meeting again for the third edition of the Panafrican’s Women forum, Les Panafricaines in Casablanca on the 6th and 7th March, 2020, to deliberate on the theme: “Climate emergency: the African media as agents of change”
Climate change is a crucial issue for the African continent, to the point of determining its development, and therefore its future, for the coming decades. Africa must therefore today negotiate a decisive turning point. From the evolution of weather conditions, which has effects on agricultural and food production, to the rise in sea levels, which increases the risks of floods, the consequences of climate change are global in terms of effects. Without immediate action, it will be much more difficult and costly for Africans to adapt to the future consequences of these changes.
Africa, which contributes less than 4% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, is the first victim of climate change. Of the 10 countries in the world considered most threatened by global warming, 7 are African: Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Nigeria, Chad, Ethiopia, the Central African Republic and Eritrea. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change believes that climate change and natural disasters like droughts and floods are slowing down the development of the African continent. Fluctuations in agricultural production, as well as inefficient farming systems, cause food insecurity, one of the most obvious indicators of poverty.
In the absence of urgent action to reduce global emissions, the frequency of climate shocks and stresses is expected to increase significantly in Africa. Therefore, the sooner governments join the renewable energy revolution and work to protect communities at risk, the more lives will be saved.
In his message to the participants in the 8th Islamic Conference of Ministers of the Environment, on October 2, 2019, HM King Mohamed VI noted: “The issues pertaining to the environment and to sustainable development are among the major challenges the world is facing today. Many international studies point to an unprecedented depletion of natural resources, to a dramatic rise in pollution levels as well as to a major disruption of the global environmental balance. This situation has serious and alarming consequences for our planet today, including evident adverse impacts on the economic, social and health situation. It means there are inexorable risks for all the countries of the world, especially vulnerable ones.
Pressing environmental problems and their negative effects - on which political and geographical borders have no bearing - can be tackled only through close cooperation between States. Whatever its capabilities, no single country can effectively address these problems on its own.”
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the planet could transition in 10 to 15 years to a less predatory civilization. Understanding and accepting such rapid change is not possible without the media. African journalists must therefore be proactive and influence African leaders to make positive changes.
They must inform vulnerable communities about the impacts and how they can adapt to them, and
promote mitigation activities that aim to limit the number of actions leading to global warming.
Quality media coverage on climate change issues can lead not only to better informing the public, but also to better informing decision-makers to develop more effective policies.
Effective media coverage can also help raise global awareness of the challenges facing less-developed nations, as well as promote a lasting outcome in intergovernmental climate change negotiations. This is why the role that the Pan-African network can play in this issue is very important.
It should also be recalled that on September 5, 2009 in Paris, 250 representatives of radio and television channels from around the world, as well as international organizations, approved at the UNESCO Headquarters, a declaration for raising awareness on climate change.
The organization of the third edition of the Forum, «Les Panafricaines», under this theme on Climate change has 6 main objectives:
• To mobilize the African media for the stimulation of public debates around the issue of climate change and its impact on African countries.
• To contribute to enrich the knowledge of African public opinion on the impact of global warming, and on the adaptation and mitigation measures to be adopted.
• To foster greater visibility of the climate issue in the African media, and of all aspects of developments that this issue impacts, whether on the environmental, economic or social.
• To establish a real force for citizen proposals and influence media organizations essential for effective and powerful dissemination of information, but also on public authorities and decision-makers to promote the implementation of public policies aimed at mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
• To contribute to building the capacities of Pan-African women wishing to develop expertise on climate and environmental issues, and this within the framework of a united and concerted approach.
• To rely on the «Pan-African» network to consolidate compliance with the rules of journalistic and
professional ethics in dealing with climate and environmental issues.
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