COP22: Forget the Promises – It’s Time for Action

By Ebun Aribido. Ebun is currently working as an intern at the Africa Progress Panel.

My friends and I sit outside a café with our ice creams and cold drinks, joking about the effects of climate change. We’re on holiday but can barely enjoy the sights in the daytime because it is just too hot. Halfway across the world in Kuwait, it snows for the first time in the country’s history. A strange occurrence. Despite the jokes my friends and I make, deep down, we know that there is nothing funny about the havoc that comes as a result of climate change.

Africa’s COP

Climate change is real, and although there are many who deny it, the consequences are already being felt across the world. Africa which contributes the least to global warming, suffers the most from its harmful consequences. COP22 has been termed Africa’s COP. Why? Because many believe that this is the COP that will bring about action in favor of Africa. Promise after promise has been made but we are yet to see any drastic action. As the Africa Progress Panel Chair, Kofi Annan states “the only promises that matter are those that are kept.”

Changing the narrative

From new tech initiatives to forging a name for itself in the fashion and photography world, Africans across the continent are showing the world just how innovative we are. My generation is active in its pursuit of changing the tired narrative of a suffering Africa. The consequences of climate change threaten these innovations coming out of Africa. It is not fair that we suffer for the rest of the world’s negative practices and inaction when it comes to climate change. This is why it is important that this COP does not join a long list of others where promises are made but no real action is seen.