The Alliance for Science Global South Hub and partners have launched the all-new Relief To Resilience Campaign at the ongoing 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
The campaign will rally science allies in the Global South to help spread climate-smart solutions, biotechnology, and social innovations to help deal with the challenges of climate change, food and nutrition security, and global health problems. The campaign will also work to fight misinformation to increase trust in science.
Speaking at the launch, Dr. Sheila Ochugboju, Director of the Alliance for Science observed that although science and innovation are key routes to prosperity, local communities across the Global South are being denied access to key technologies. “We must change that,” she said. “The cost of fragility is too high for poor communities in the Global South to continue to bear. With the increasingly adverse impacts of climate change, conflict, and the post-Covid pandemic economic fallout, lives and livelihoods are in peril,” she added.
Dr. Rose Mwebaza, Director of the Climate Technology Centre and Network expressed concern the world is completely off track in saving the planet from the impact of climate change. She says the warming climate is not a future threat but something that is negatively impacting people currently. “The issue of resilience should come as no surprise to anyone at this COP. We’ve witnessed some of the worst and most extreme weather events ever recorded in human living history…. We’ve witnessed the hot scathing summers in Europe. We’ve seen the floods and utter destruction in Pakistan, and Nigeria, no region is immune” she said.
Dr. Tasila Banda, Founding Member of the Network of African Women Environmentalists said building climate resilience will be tedious, but the benefits will be worth it. “The key word is building. When you talk about building, it takes time. And we need to keep in mind that building resilience has to follow the pace of the community, one stone, one element at a time, in an integrated manner,” she noted. Young Kenyan technology innovator Sheryl Mboya told the launch the youth are churning out great technological initiatives in Africa that deserve more attention than they are getting now. “We have innovators developing rather meaningful innovations that tackle the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, and food system losses,” she said. She developed edible plates and cups to replace plastic plates and cups and therefore reduce plastic pollution.
More on the Relief To Resilience Campaign
Through the Relief To Resilience Campaign, the Alliance for Science is emphasizing an approach to problem-solving that encourages a drastic shift from relief as a mechanism of sustainable development, to embracing resilience as a tool that acknowledges the intrinsic capabilities of developing economies and their ability to deliver sustainable outcomes. The Relief to Resilience campaign intends to primarily celebrate local heroes and their communities for developing climate-smart solutions and biotechnological developments which contribute to solving issues.
Alliance for Science will also host a side event during the COP27 at the Sharm El-Sheikh International Convention Center on Saturday to showcase some innovations. The discussion is on the theme; “Climate Action Frontiers: Leading the Change for Women in Agricultural Value Chains.” This event will highlight how countries like Kenya are embracing biotechnology and applying frontier innovations to increase agricultural productivity and improve food systems. The event will showcase some of the inspirational work by the First Lady of Kenya, Rachel Ruto. She is a Climate Action Champion who is supporting a national network of female-led organisations that’s empowering thousands of women who have mobilised significant resources to transform lives and communities.
Dr. Ochugboju said it’s about time Africa focused more on how to gather resources locally to build resilience in food systems, rather than focusing on aid. “As we are talking of finance and humanitarian aid, we still have to build our resilience so that next year and the year after, we will be talking less about relief and aid… Because we would have been able to strengthen our inherent resilience capacity,” she said.
The Alliance for Science Global South Hub supports scientists, community leaders, decision-makers, and others to build capacity to recognise locally led science initiatives that are helping communities to become more climate resilient. The hub also seeks to create biosafety and governance frameworks that ease the deployment of agricultural technologies to increase food availability and build resilient food systems. The hub additionally offers training and policy support for structural transformations, such as increasing access to improved agricultural inputs and markets, enhancing gender equality, and supporting youth education in science, technology, and mathematics (STEM).