Demanding climate action: A caravan of hope

Ian Sullivan

Blog post by Ian Sullivan

Oxfam Great Britain, Online Campaigner
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The Trans Africa caravan of hope is travelling from Burundi to South Africa, demanding action on climate change. Show your support by adding a comment below and we’ll take those messages to the caravan as it heads to the UN climate change summit in Durban. Onyango Oloo reports on their progress.

View The Trans African Caravan of Hope in a larger map - This map is courtesy of Action Aid

A sunny mid-November day in Nairobi. The hustle and bustle of bubbly, energetic young voices. Trumpets, saxophones and clarinets uniting in perfect harmony with the coordinated marching feet of the brass band in their green and gold uniform. Ugandan, Rwandese, Burundian and Kenyan flags fluttering, leading a peaceful procession of climate justice campaigners through the streets of the Kenyan capital to mark the arrival of the Trans African Caravan of Hope.

This was an occasion full of colour and splendour. Kenyans from all walks of life came out to welcome the caravan, as it passes by on a 10-nation journey through Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Organised by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), and supported by Oxfam, the caravan aims to tell the African story of their united voice for climate justice.

The first member of the caravan team to speak was Annette Linda Kagaaga, from the Rwandese Environmental NGOs Forum said, “We are here as one East African voice. We are expressing our concerns how negative climate change is affecting our right to food.”

There was a very strong contingent of members of Bunge la Mwananchi (the People’s Parliament), one of Kenya’s most vibrant social movements.  Eric Omeny said: “Bunge is interested in environmental activism and we see a link between our Unga Revolution – a campaign to reduce the prices of maize meal and other foodstuff – and the campaign by the broader climate justice movement for food security.”

Beatrice Karori, who serves on the Board of Bunge la Mwananchi, told us, “I want to send a personal message to the Kenya government:  It is time for climate justice!” 

Later, at a ceremony at the Kenya International Conference Centre (KICC), speeches, poetry, dancing, music and films kicked off the Caravan’s journey from Kenya southwards to Tanzania. A huge wall was emblazoned with banners from Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. 

Gloria Najjuma from the Uganda Climate Action Network read out a joint statement with PACJA, spelling out five demands: “Developed countries must provide adequate financial resources to address their climate debts and implement their commitment. Global warming must be kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius. The principle of a just transition must be strengthened and operationalized. Developed countries must reduce their emissions by 50% by 2017 and African countries must undertake nationally appropriate mitigation actions.”

The caravan keeps rolling on, sending out a message about the need for climate action. Please show your support and send a message of support to the people on board as they travel across Africa. 

This article originally appeared on the Oxfam East Africa blog and was written by Onyango Oloo, media coordinator with Oxfam partner PACJA, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance

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