(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — NEWS: n an effort to increase diversity at the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, the HBCU Green Fund and the Harambee House/Citizens for Environmental Justice (HH/CFEJ) partnered to lead a delegation of 27 persons from the United States, Africa and the diaspora to participate in the global summit touted as “COP Africa.” The group is pleased about the historic agreement made to create a loss and damage fund for vulnerable nations most impacted by the effects of climate change and they are working to help advance projects in Africa among the delegation.
“During a COP26 presentation in Glasgow, Scotland, we pledged to expand Black participation at COP27 in Egypt. Our efforts exceeded our expectations, culminating in a network connecting African and African American climate leaders,” notes Felicia Davis, founder of HBCU Green Fund. “It is enormously difficult for grassroots organizers to travel to international meetings from the US and almost impossible from Africa, so we came together to help. Dr. McClain’s inspiring and powerful message provided a historical linking of continents and bonded the group forever. She reinforced the certainty that a sustainable Africa is crucial to a sustainable planet and our long-term involvement and commitment is key!”
Dr. Mildred McClain, executive director of the legendary Harambee House, expressed during a meet-and-greet for the delegation, “We are linking a continent, central and south America, and wherever we at. Our name is Harambee!” The Environmental Justice pioneer known as “Mama Bahati,” continues, “The climate change impacts are so incredible that even us, we don’t understand the fullness. It is our responsibility to become subject matter experts and insinuate ourselves everywhere; from the local all the way to international arenas.”
The delegation included representatives from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Uganda alongside representatives from the United States to highlight climate work underway in frontline communities and prepare for the United Nations conference. With encouragement from local organizers and friends at Microsoft and Nike, the Green Fund hosted a PreCOP27 Virtual Summit this past September, “A Sustainable Future for Africa and the Diaspora.” The event convened young leaders from the diaspora, featured local climate solutions already underway in Africa, mobilized support for projects, and helped raise funding for African youth participation in COP27 in Egypt.
”Climate change is already devastating communities throughout Africa,” said Illai Kenney, managing director of HBCU Green Fund. “Our delegation included young leaders from areas most impacted by climate change and for global meetings to produce real solutions their voices must be included. We are glad to have played a small part in making that happen.”
During the meeting the HBCU Green Fund announced a new partnership with REDES Ecovillages that features an annual HBCU EcoVillage Spring Break Tour. Twelve students attending historically black colleges and universities will meet with 12 Senegalese students in a service-learning experience. REDES is a grassroots community association dedicated to developing a mutual support network of ecovillages in the Sahel region of Africa. Founded by Dr. Ousmane Pame, REDES has expanded to 141 villages across Senegal and Mauritania.
Based in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, the HBCU Green Fund ( http://hbcugreenfund.org/ ) is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization working with historically black colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad to advance sustainability and promote student engagement in green initiatives.
The Savannah-based HH/CFEJ ( http://theharambeehouse.net/ ) was established in 1991 to educate, inspire, organize and build the capacity of African Americans and other communities of color to create and sustain safe, economically vibrant, healthy neighborhoods that promote environmental justice and green sustainability.
Related link: https://hbcugreenfund.org/
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