29.04.2020

Trade unions and other Civil Society Organizations would consider climate change and renewable energy as a transformation opportunity to integrate in their agenda

This is one of the recommendations from the two booklets: “Climate change strategy paper for Trade Unions in Africa and Future energy Policy in Southern Africa, What Role for Trade Unions” discussed on April, 22nd 2020 in a digital presentation organized by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES Rwanda).

 

Participants from Trade Unions, Civil Society Organizations, entrepreneurs and students followed the digital discussion. The objectives of the virtual presentation were to the two booklets translated into Kinyarwanda and to invite organizations to use them as a tool by raising climate change and energy awareness among their members.

It is also an opportunity to take practical actions in reducing climate change effects and promoting the use of energy policy efficiently.

The climate change and energy booklets have been respectively developed by FES - Trade Union Competence Centre (FES- TUCC) for Sub-Saharan Africa & South Africa in partnership with African Regional Organization of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa), African Labour Research Network (ALRN), the Africa Labour Research and Education Institute (ALREI) and a private researcher-consultant” Ivan Mbirimion the behalf of the Southern African Energy Network (SAEN).

The idea came after the study conducted by those organizations found on one hand little or non-involvement of Trade Unions in development and implementation of climate change and energy policy in Africa.

On the other hand, there is a strong connection between a decent work, workers and climate change, environmental degradation and access to energy. Furthermore, climate justice was emphasized to overcome inequality and injustice when it comes to the causes (CO2 emission) and its effects of climate change such as global warming and respective roles of countries and communities in bringing related solutions.

The booklets invite Trade Unions to explore climate change and renewable energy policy as a new opportunity to integrate in their agenda and to play their roles in social protection.

After the opening and welcome remarks for the event by the FES Rwanda Resident Representative, Mr. Oliver Dalichau; the moderator Mr. Jean-Claude Muhire, FES Program Coordinator explained why this digital conference about climate change and energy and how it is important for FES partners to read and use the booklets.

Mr Muhire called upon the speaker, Patrick Karera, advisor to the Minister of Environment to give his word.

Mr.Karera, discussed the role of African trade unionists and non-governmental organizations when it comes to dealing with climate change issues that is actually obliterating the future of the World particularly Africa.

With references to the booklets, Mr.Karera explained the causes and effects of climate change and global warming as a big problem facing the world especially Africa and this has a big impact on food security and poor communities are most affected.

The speaker went on explaining many efforts going on at international level as well as at country level to combat climate change and to transition from the use of fossil fuel as the main source of energy to the new renewable energy.

For example, countries adopted the historical Paris Agreement in 2015 and committed themselves to the goal of limiting global temperature increase below 2oC to reduce global warming. He explained also other international measures including creation of the Green climate fund (GCF) in 2010 to support developing countries towards addressing climate change issues.

At National level, the speaker explained to the participants about what has been achieved in Rwanda including improvement in smart agriculture for food security and land use and hydropower plants to provide electricity for many Rwandans. Other strategies are found in environmental conservation, development of smart cities and renewable energy among others.

From existing policy and strategies, trade unions and Civil Society Organizations are invited to play their roles as the key representatives of the communities. Therefore, Mr. Karera added that the booklets are important tool for them to support their members to become resilient in facing climate change challenges and to have access to smart energy.

The attendees of this conference were so excited to learn from Mr. Karera, what Rwanda has achieved to lessen the climate change concerns and to make access to energy possible.

One participant said: Thank you, it is really nice that through responsible institutions and boards is doing all they can to design green cities, green Rwanda in order to combat the problem.”

Participants also were openly expressing their ideas; another participant added:

My opinion on this issue of population increase is that Rwanda as a country might come up with settlement policy (whole country muster plan, not only Cities) then this will spread to the whole of Africa as there might be effective and efficient land use.”

At the end of the digital conference, participants especially young generations acknowledged their contribution to deal with climate change in Africa.

To conclude, the climate change booklet gives strategies and action plans that would help Trade unions and recommend the following key points

  1. Capacity Building of Trade Unions on Climate Change Issues.
  2. Information Exchange, Advocacy and Awareness Creation among Trade Unions.
  3. Resource Mobilization and Building Alliances by Trade Unions.
  4. Building Institutional Mechanisms on Climate Change.
  5. Trade Union Policy and Legislative Demands.

The document also spells out the roles and responsibilities of the ITUC-Africa Secretariat and an action plan for Trade Unions. The climate change strategy would be implemented at national, sub-regional and regional levels in Africa.

For access to the whole booklets in Kinyarwanda & English:

Climate Change Strategy Paper Eng and Kiny

Future Energy Policy in Southern Africa Eng and Kiny

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Rwanda

House KG 13 Ave, 14, Nyarutarama, Gasabo district - Remera sector
Kamashashi cel
Kigali – Rwanda

+250 7869 500 20

info(at)fes-rwanda.org

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