Moroccan Minister for Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Living Abroad, Nasser Bourita is appealing to African women journalists to push the agenda for environmental conservation.
Speaking at a meeting of over 300 female journalists drawn from 54 countries across the continent, Bourita said climate change is impacting women more and disrupting livelihoods adding that women and men experience climate change impacts differently due to their socially constructed roles and responsibilities, “hence the need for women to tell the climate story in a way that is better understood by women.”
He said women are the main agricultural producers hence changing weather patterns are affecting agricultural productivity and impacting food security.
“Women are the most affected by climate change, they are the ones who make the largest number of small holder farmers, they are the ones who go in search of water during drought in order to fend for their families,” said the Minister and added, “women are impacted more due to climate change.”
Chief Executive Officer of the 2M Group, Salim Cheikh who spoke at the 3rd meeting of Les Panafricaines with the theme: “Climate emergency: media agents of change” said a large population of women are the rural dwellers who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods hence the need to find solutions to the changing climate.
Cheikh who spoke in Casablanca, Morocco said female journalists are better placed to inform the world on the vagaries of weather. He noted that when the climate change story is better unpacked and packaged it will help in mitigating the impacts and adapting to the changing climate as global warming becomes a reality.
According to climate researchers, Africa contributes 4% of greenhouse gasses that cause global warming, yet according to the Minister, Africa suffers the most due to climate change as a result of climate variability and climate change.
The National Coordinator of the Alliance for Climate and Sustainable Development Abderrahim Ksiri told the workshop on Africa’s energy transition that about one billion people, or 13% of the world’s population, still live without electricity. “In Africa, one in three people living in rural areas does not have access to electricity.”
At the same time Prof. Fouad Amraoui told the meeting that, a third of the African population, or 330 million people, do not have access to clean drinking water and nearly half of Africans suffer from health problems due to lack of drinking water, a matter he noted will worsen owing to climate change.
Co-founder of the Movement, Earth and Humanism in Morocco, Fettouma Djerrari Benabdenbi, speaking at the workshop on the theme, “Sustainable agriculture: a green economy for Africa” stressed that African agriculture is a vital sector which creates many direct jobs and generates income for around 70% of the African population noting that climate change is a direct threat to a majority of livelihoods on the continent.
She said that while Africa still holds the world’s largest proportion of arable land, the changes in weather patterns could undermine Africa’s agricultural productivity.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation in its publication on impacts on climate change on agriculture indicates that; in developing countries, climate change affects the availability of surface water, and as a result rural women, who are usually given the task of fetching water, have to cover greater distances to collect the water, increasing their already substantial workload.
“Studies have also shown the strong links between climate-related disasters and female mortality, with women, boys and girls more than 14 times more likely than men to die during a disaster,” FAO.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its 5th Assessment Report of 2013, states that climate change hazards ‘increase or heighten existing gender inequalities, thereby contributing to the greater climate change vulnerability of many women’.
Les Panafricaines is a network of African women journalists with members drawn from 54 African countries established by 2M Group in 2017.
Les Panafricaines aims to promote greater responsibility of African media in the treatment of key issues of interest and in shaping public opinion on the continent, as well as to be a genuine platform for debate and advocacy.