My experience at Gobeshona conference

Since March 1994, when the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change entered into force, the world would protect the climate from human-made challenges. In December 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted and entered into force in 2005; its purpose was to work together between developed and developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emission according to parties’ targets. In 2015 the world came together to produce the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse emission and limit the global temperature to at 2-degree Celsius while aiming at 1.5 degrees.

My name is Ineza Umuhoza Grace, an eco-feminist impact-driven actor in the climate change sector. In 2018 when I was in my third year of university in Rwanda, I gained information about the international climate policies and global ambition. My engagement was way after the decisions on all-important global driving decisions were available. 

It was for no surprise that gender, youth and climate finance are the first gaps that struck me, and later I linked them with the climate change impacts referred to as “Loss and Damage”. My Gobeshona conference experience permitted me to understand, especially from the least developed and developing country perspectives.

This year the Gobeshona conference was a seven-day virtual event that brought together researchers, practitioners, youth, women, leaders and actors to encourage collaboration while inspiring and permitting a share of expertise worldwide. I participated intending to learn, listen and get informed about current and future ambitions that include women and youth in achieving global climate ambition.

“There is a need to recognize that climate justice for developing and developed countries is not a political agenda”

I carefully chose the sessions that I want to attend not only depending on my time zone since it was a virtual event, but also based on what will enhance my understanding on how to contribute better to drive action on the ground for the vulnerable community. Here is the summary of my take away points in some of the sessions I participated in:

  • There is a need to increase the climate risk information in development planning especially for developing countries, not only because it is the only way to save many people but also it is the only way to ensure sustainable economic development. IUCN shared their model for disaster management through modelling and initiative diverse settings
  • Natural based solution is the new normal that can sustainably address the impact of climate change by strengthening the community’s knowledge and enhancing their adaptive capacity. USAID shared the lesson learned in Bangladesh to drive resilience while increasing natural safeguards and security. IIED shared innovative approaches in the global south cities that permit innovative strategies for disruptive resilience. Brac is conducting an adaptation project in Bangladesh by supporting local lead actions to adapt to climate change impacts; this is a success story that can inform countries and partners to integrate natural-based solutions for the new normal.
  • There is an untapped opportunity in the Green Climate Fund for locally-led climate action though the new program seeks to increase the direct access of local actors’ funds. The UNCDF is financing the locally-led adaptation action through a country-driven mechanism in the NDC and NAP process. ICLEI is working in Bangladesh to support the development and integration of urban resilience in the planning process; developing countries can learn from this.
  • Adaptation in the agricultural sector is the main pathway for building a climate-resilient community in Africa. Africa Development Bank is already undertaking so local action in the agricultural value chain.
  • Youth are present in building the country’s resilience to climate change through the UNFCCC approaches. This is done through the UN climate change initiative to create partnerships with universities to encourage young professionals to build meaningful innovation for climate resilience on the national level. The Least Developed countries consortium on climate change is an excellent demonstration of this engagement. The LUCCC/ICCCAD shared their collective voice of case studies from least developed countries to highlight the need to include “loss and damage” at the next conference of parties under the UNFCCC.
  • Women representation in the decision-making process is still minimal, but now more than ever, there is a need to recognise and address it sustainably. The UNWomen shared the untold tales of wonder women who are addressing climate change in their context. ActionAid shared their gender-responsive climate budget in their country approaches in Bangladesh and Mexico.

In conclusion, the conference gave me hope. It is possible to achieve climate stability as long as community voices, experience, and engagement are recognised. There is a need to recognize that climate justice for developing and developed countries is not a political agenda; it is a global call for everyone to get engaged; we all share one planet. 

Let us listen to each other and take collective climate action! 

Ineza Umuhoza Grace is an impact-driven eco-feminist working in The Green Fighter as the executive director. Her interest lies in climate justice and giving voice to the community demonstrated by her involvement in the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition. She can be reached at [email protected]



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