The African Activists for Climate Justice (AACJ) Global Coordination Meeting took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 5th to 11th February 2023. The meeting aimed to bring together the AACJ consortium members to reflect on progress made in year two of implementation and agree on adaptations required for successful implementation of the AACJ program. The following report summarizes the key discussions and takeaways from the event.
The AACJ program is a five-year initiative that aims to amplify and unite the voices of African activists calling for climate justice, with a focus on the most vulnerable groups, including women, youth, and local indigenous communities.
The AACJ consortium comprises several organizations, including the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), Natural Justice (NJ), Oxfam Novib, FEMNET, and the African Youth Commission. The program is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
KEY DISCUSSIONS AND TAKEAWAYS
The AACJ Global Coordination Meeting included several plenary and group sessions that focused on progress review, COP27 reflection, theory of change, and global stock take. The following are the key discussions and takeaways:
The meeting provided an opportunity for consortium members to collectively share, reflect, and review progress achieved in year two of implementation. The baseline study and annual reports were key documents used to review progress. The consortium experienced some coordination hitches and compliance bottlenecks, but these were acknowledged as inherent and expected in a consortium’s initial stages of program implementation.
Adaptations for Successful Implementation
The AACJ consortium members discussed and agreed on adaptations required for the successful implementation of the AACJ program. They reviewed the internal and external operating context and agreed on strengthening coordination systems at all levels, including PGG, Project Leads, PMU, Decentralized PMU, Country Coordination, and Technical Workstreams. The consortium members also discussed and harmonized a joint calendar of events.
Cohesive Team Building
The AACJ consortium members emphasized the importance of building a cohesive team to drive the AACJ program’s implementation. They acknowledged the need to invest in team spirit, mutual support, and focus to achieve the desired results. The team-building activities facilitated by an external consultant were successful in creating a more energized and refreshed team.
COP27 Reflection and Planning for COP28
The AACJ consortium members reflected on COP27 and planned for COP28. They discussed the role of AACJ in the global stocktake progress and designed the COP28 AACJ framework.
Continuous Improvement Plans
The AACJ consortium members developed continuous improvement plans and initiatives to leverage existing strengths and opportunities as well as address obstacles to implementation. They refined and shared their understanding of roles, ways of working, and the framework for an enabling environment for the program.
Other Key Discussions and Takeaways
One of the sessions involved each consortium member designing a gallery to present what is being implemented at the grassroots level. The galleries showcased a range of best practices, including community-led innovations, sustainable farming practices, and climate-smart technologies. These practices demonstrated the impact of the AACJ program on the ground and the potential for scaling up these practices to other regions.
Each consortium partner presented the challenges and improvements to be made in relation to working together with other partners. The discussions focused on strengthening coordination and collaboration to achieve the desired results. Some of the challenges identified included coordination hitches, communication breakdowns, and compliance bottlenecks. The consortium members agreed to develop a clear framework for collaboration and to invest in building stronger and more effective relationships among consortium partners.
A consultant presented a baseline study that was done to assess the state of climate justice in the target countries. The study findings established that there are a number of programs by NGOs to support communities to defend their environment and social rights, and 179 changes in law and policies that advance climate justice. The country-specific findings indicated that Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, and South Africa have ratified policies and plans that support a conducive environment for climate action.
Some of the policies include National Development plans (NAP), National Adaptation Program Action plan (NAPA), plans for environmental and Sustainable development, and their constitutions. The study also assessed the cases of community-led innovations and sustainable best practices. The study established that there are 45 cases where communities are improving their capacities for adaptation planning.
The baseline study made recommendations to the ACCJ project partners to support the advancement of climate justice in the target countries. These recommendations included supporting awareness creation programs, promoting public participation in climate change, promoting women’s participation in climate action, influencing policymakers and institutions regarding indigenous knowledge, and setting up groups from indigenous communities. The study also recommended promoting the inclusion of youth, PWDs, women, and indigenous communities in the implementation of climate policies.
The AACJ Global Coordination Meeting provided an opportunity for the consortium members to reflect on progress made in year two of implementation, review the internal and external operating context, plan for COP28, and discuss continuous improvement plans.
The gallery of best practices showcased the potential for scaling up these practices to other regions, and the discussions on challenges and improvements highlighted the importance of coordination and collaboration. The baseline study findings provided insights into the state of climate justice in the target countries and made recommendations for promoting the advancement of climate justice.
Overall, the AACJ program continues to make significant progress toward achieving its goals, and the consortium members left the meeting with renewed energy and focus to drive the program’s implementation.