Climate change is transforming and redefining the global security and development landscape says the New York-based Center for Media and Peace Initiatives (CMPI) at theUnited Nations High Level Political Forum held in New York July 10 -19, 2023.
According to the President of the Center, Dr. Uchenna Ekwo, the implications of climate change for peace, development, and security have become increasingly recognized within the UN, African Union, and European Union.
Dr. Ekwo who spoke at the session entitled “African Youth Leaders Dialogue on Climate Change” organized jointly by CMPI and the Nigerian-based ECube, a non-governmental organization noted that the primary objective of the dialogue was to generate reliable, relevant, timely and actionable information and analysis on climate-related peace, security, and development risks related to Nigeria and other African countries.
The CMPI president therefore called for massive awareness campaigns across Africa for adequate sensitization of citizens on sustainable practices to arrest growing threats of climate change.
Ekwo said the call had become imperative for community stakeholders to constantly engage in dialogue as a tool to sensitize people about the dangers of climate change, to tackle issues relating to it. “So, there is the need for awareness creation to encourage people to always imbibe best practices and sustainable approach to mitigate climate change.”
He said it was very important to begin to think about how to deal with challenges that climate change poses to Africans and the rest of the world.
“For us at CMPI,” said Dr. Ekwo, “we see a connection between peace and conflict as well, because they are all interrelated.” In his words, “whereas these problems do not have particular areas that show their correlation or causation, climate change-induced challenges such as migration, displacement, terrorism breed tension that ultimately impedes peaceful coexistence of vulnerable population.”
According to the Nigerian-born scholar, there is a compelling need for public awareness creation, to encourage people to hold their leaders accountable amid misinformation and conspiracy theories. “Sometimes you see conspiracy theories about climate change as issues related to politics or religion, but the truth is that scientifically climate change is real.”
Speaking virtually at the event, Bitsat Yohamnes-Kassahun, Lead, Energy and Climate, UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, emphasized the need for holistic approach to tackle climate change.
She said people must constantly dialogue to find solution to challenges associated with climate change, stressing that “if we do not care, this is going to be untenable.”
Yohamnes-Kassahun added: “Here in New York government has set up cooling devices against harsh weather condition, but we do not have most of that in many cities globally.
“We have started to experience extreme torrential rainfall and flood in places like New York that infrastructures and homes are not equipped for…so, what you have is flooding, people are getting very nervous during flooding, but the local authorities here are overhauling structures to mitigate that.”
“When we come to Africa in this context how prepared are we? When we talk about heatwave, we consider the impacts on water shortage and lots more. There is the need for awareness creation through different reporting method about the dangers of climate change, to bring about lasting solution to the problem such poses.”
In separate interview, Ilan Lugassy, Country Manager and Managing-Director of ECube, said his organization had designed measures aimed at encouraging public private partnership to tackle climate change.
He said: “We have been working closely with relevant agencies to promote the awareness,” noting that: “Many government institutions have been here like the Federal Ministry of Power, Rural Electrification Agency, Ministry of Agriculture and other community-based organizations, and every stakeholder has been enthusiastic about the ECube idea.
“The solution to climate change is not just about electrification, our ECube system has been built to provide electricity and connectivity to provide basic amenities for communities, thereby providing services to various communities, which is a game changer in the fights against climate change. ”
He said that the dialogue was put together to promote best practices in providing support for rural-urban areas with no access to electricity to mitigate climate change actions.
In a presentation, Dr. Osy Ekwueme, a medical professional and policy affairs analyst based in Wisconsin, United States challenged youth to take urgent action to safeguard the future planet.
Ekwueme stated: “Educating future generations about the urgency of climate change. It is true that African countries are among the most vulnerable but contribute the least to their root causes. Nevertheless, African youths should pay attention to the climate change debate. The recent surge in global high temperatures serves as a stark reminder that climate change is an urgent and escalating crisis that demands our immediate attention. These record-breaking heatwaves, spanning continents and causing immense suffering, are clear indicators of the dire consequences of our changing climate.”
According to him, scientific evidence overwhelmingly points to human activities as the primary driver of climate change. The burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrial practices have released unprecedented amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, trapping heat and disrupting the delicate balance of our planet The repercussions are felt in rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and the loss of precious biodiversity.
Excerpts of Ekwueme’s paper follows….
I am still amazed that discussions about climate change are so political. It should be purely scientific, but it turns more into a religious-like belief, even though scientific evidence of Global Warming does not make belief in God obsolete. So, the question of obsolescence is miscast because science and faith should exist in separate realms. Science uses logic and experimental methods to measure and describe the material world…. like this absolute weather change and warming of the earth. This has been proven to be true beyond reasonable doubts by most scientists worldwide. Science has no moral valence. It is neutral. DNA technology can craft a cure for a cancer or produce a weapon of bioterrorism. It is only a person’s application of science that takes on moral dimension.
Neither science nor faith need contradict the other; in fact, if one appreciates the essence of each, they can enrich each other in a person’s life. One needs to understand the difference between climate and weather. Many on the list of deniers are not scientists but local weathermen-confusing weather with climate. Weather is a component of climate, but there are others, most notably time, time as in decades, centuries, and millennia. It is absurd to accept information about climate change from politicians, big business or radio/tv talk show hosts, and the like.
Anyone approaching this matter with “an agenda” (an agenda other than scientific rationale and methods) is doing anyone who listens to them a real injustice. Sadly, there is a part of the population who can only see things in an adversarial political way. If you told them it was raining, it would be a conspiracy to take away the freedoms of dry people, and because rain was falling on everyone, it would be meteorological socialism.
So, a global conspiracy of data-backed science used against the interest of humanity, launched by the smartest people we know in all nations, is more credible than the fact that the climate is changing due to pollution and environmental abuse. Wow. It takes a special kind of voluntary ignorance of an almost incandescent quality!
This is not a distant threat, but a reality affecting us all. We cannot afford to dismiss the scientific consensus and turn a blind eye to the urgency of this issue. Immediate action is required at all levels of society to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Governments must adopt and enforce ambitious policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, transition to renewable energy sources, and promote sustainable practices across sectors. International cooperation is paramount to address this global challenge. With nations working together to achieve the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.
Businesses play a vital role in this endeavor. Embracing sustainable practices, investing in clean technologies, and prioritizing corporate social responsibility are essential steps towards a low-carbon future. Consumers, too, have the power to drive change by supporting environmentally conscious companies and making sustainable choices in their daily lives.
We must seize this moment to raise public awareness and educate future generations about the urgency of climate change. By fostering a sense of collective responsibility, we can create a groundswell of support for immediate action. In the face of record high temperatures, we cannot afford complacency or delay. It is time for bold action, innovation, and collaboration. Let us come together, transcending borders and differences, to combat climate change and secure a sustainable future for generations to come.
A cross section of participants (below) at the Ecube location at Abuja join UN at New York through secure video link