Some women groups have taken to the streets in Kaduna metropolis to demand climate justice for women and affirmative representation at the 28th edition of the UN Climate Change Conference.
The rally is organised ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference also referred to as the Conference of the Parties (COP 28), scheduled to hold from November 30 to December 12, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The women from different parts of the state staged the street rally on Thursday from the Ahmadu Bello Stadium through Ahmadu Bello Way to Leventis Underpass.
The women, dressed in green, moved to the Yakubu Gowon Way, passed through Independence Way and Constitution Road and back to the Gymnasium Hall of the stadium.
The rally was organised by the Women Initiative for Sustainable Environment with support from Global Fund for Women.
The founder and Programme Director, WISE, Olanike Olugboji-Daramola, explained after the rally, that the goal was to ask for climate justice for women and affirmative representation at COP 28.
Mrs Olugboji-Daramola pointed out that many people were not well informed about the terrible impact of climate change in communities.
She also said that many residents do not know anything about COP.
“So, we are out today to create awareness about the conference of parties, create awareness about climate change and call for climate justice for women. Because I have heard many leaders saying that women are the most impacted by the effect of climate and they are the first responders, but sadly, at the decision-making table, their voices are missing.
“So, we are out today to call for leaders: world leaders, national leaders, and leaders at all levels to take cognisance of the fact that women need to be heard. The concerns of women need to be heard as it concerns climate change, because many women are still using firewood today to cook. It is one of the greatest causes of deforestation and nobody is asking the women, what do you need, what alternatives are there,” she said.
She insisted that women needed to be visible in driving solutions, in creating solutions and whatever was possible, adding that women were the custodian of the future generation and should be carried along.
The programme director said that WISE had been building capacities and putting resources in the hands of women to drive solutions to climate change under different programmes and interventions.
“For example, we have the COVID-19 and climate resilience programme that focus on repositioning women at the frontline of driving climate change solutions. We are raising their capacities in planting trees, producing briquette, and offering them green micro financing where we put resources in their hands so that they can establish clean businesses among other interventions,” she said.
One of the women, Hannatu Biniyat, who would be 70 years in five days, called on policy-makers to include women in the discussions to find lasting solutions to climate change.
Mrs Biniyat explained that women were the most affected by climate change and as such, should be given a voice when deciding on what climate actions to take.
Similarly, Mrs Larai Bako, equally stressed the need to carry women along in the planning and implementation of climate change programmes in Kaduna State and Nigeria at large.
Responding, Commissioner for Environment and Natural resources, Kaduna State, Abubakar Buba, commended WISE for mobilising the women to advocate for climate justice for women.
Mr Buba pledged the government continued support to ensure active participation of women in climate change programmes and interventions.
“The actions taken by these women are encouraging. We will be there for them, we will support them, we will support climate action, and we will support climate justice for women. This is going to be part of the message we are taking to COP 28 in Dubai,” he said.
The commissioner said that the state’s climate policy was 90 per cent completed, adding that the government had also created green economic zones to reduce carbon emission and promote a green environment.
He said that the goal was to build a greener state with less carbon emission and be part of the global community in the fight against climate change.
“These policies and programmes are sensitive to women because they are the bedrock for any development anywhere in the world. Kaduna State has a population of over 10 million and half of the population are women, and these women are the ones responsible for taking care of the homes and children. So, we cannot afford to hand over bad weather conditions for our unborn children,” the commissioner said.