The call emanated from a two-day environment conference which held last week in Pretoria.
Delegates to the conference entitled “Women in Media and Environment Conference” pledged to use every available means at their disposal to raise awareness on climate change among African women.
The more than 200 delegates, drawn from media and environment sector, expressed concern at what they described as a lack of public awareness on the subject of climate change among the Africa’s poor, especially women.
They noted that women would bear the brunt of environmental degradation as a result of climate change.
Delegates implored world governments and all delegates to the COP17/CMP7 to act decisively and with requisite urgency to restore the integrity of international climate change negotiations.
“Recognising that our continent, Africa, is already experiencing dire consequences of climate change and that the continent is likely to suffer the most from these consequences we are calling on women and society at large to take greater interest in matters relating to environmental health and climate change,” they said.
Delegates further urged African negotiators at the COP17 to speak with one voice and represent the best interests of African people at the conference adding that Africa stood to suffer the most from climate change.
Edna Molewa, South Africa’s Water and Environmental Affairs Minister who was part of a government delegation to the conference, was quoted as saying that developing nations would go ahead with their demand for a binding international treaty on climate change and called on women to take a lead in the Durban deliberations.
“We as women should be demanding an international climate regime that balances adaptation and mitigation recognising the development needs of poor countries…so it’s not about the fight between rich and poor countries but something that needs and has to be done,” Molewa said.
Developing countries demand that the Kyoto obligations be extended and new targets adopted while industrial countries have been pushing for emerging economies to accept similar binding commitments. Decisions on the future of the treaty were deferred till the Durban summit.