ORI, UN Partner Of Climate Action, Human Rights

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A partnership between University of Botswana’s Okavango Research Institute (ORI) and the United Nations last week orchestrated a thought-provoking event centered on climate action and human rights.

The event off with the screening of the movie High Tide Don’t Hide and followed a stimulating panel discussion on climate action and human rights with students from various schools in Maun, activists, NGOs, academia, diplomats, artists, and the general public in attendance.

The movie ‘High Tide Don’t Hide’ by Phil Stebbing, Niva Kay, Nia Phipps, and Emily McDowell chronicles the journey of five New Zealand teenagers who, when spurred by the climate crisis, engage in global student protests, confronting racial prejudices and spearheading one of the largest strikes in history. Thereafter,

At the height of the panel discussions, academics and attendees shared insightful perspectives on the topics at hand. Professor OluwaToyin Kolawole, an expert in Rural Development at ORI, posed a thought-provoking question to the students: “In what way can you contribute to alleviating the challenges posed by global warming?”

While Legodile Seganabeng of Poetavango emphasized, “Art has the power to inspire societal change, whether a painter or a poet an artist can help bridge the gap and communicate complex ideas in ways that would inspire the masses.”

Tjipo Keaikitse, the Education Coordinator from Botswana Wild Bird Trust, issued a poignant reminder of the impending consequences of climate change, urging proactive measures to avert a disastrous future.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines climate change as significant and enduring alterations in Earth’s climate patterns, predominantly attributed to human activities such as greenhouse gas emissions. These changes encompass shifts in temperature, precipitation levels, sea levels, and the frequency of extreme weather events.

According to research conducted by IPCC, Africa is experiencing rapid warming, surpassing the global average, with some regions witnessing temperature increases exceeding 1 degrees Celsius since the early 20th century. This accelerated warming disrupts weather patterns and agricultural productivity, exacerbating existing challenges in the region. Furthermore, many parts of Africa are facing reduced rainfall and increased droughts, threatening water security and food production for millions.

Coastal communities are particularly vulnerable, as rising sea levels pose risks of inundation, salinisation of freshwater sources, and displacement. Agriculture, a crucial sector for Africa’s economy and livelihoods, is significantly impacted by changing climate conditions, leading to decreased yields and jeopardizing food security across the continent. The economic strain of climate change is substantial, damaging infrastructure, disrupting trade, and hindering overall economic development efforts in Africa.

The climate action event served as a poignant reminder of the urgent need for collaborative efforts to address climate change. It highlighted the critical role of individuals, communities, and nations in driving meaningful action and inspiring positive change for a sustainable future.

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