African Activists for Climate Justice

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South Africa

South Africa


South Africa is a leading African economy and home to 75% of the largest African companies. However, it ranks among the world’s highest for poverty, inequality and unemployment: in 2019, youth unemployment was a staggering 57.5%.

Climate variability is impacting water quality and availability. South Africa has faced a serious drought since 2015, with associated crop losses, water restrictions, and impacts on food and water security. The government of South Africa aims to increase resilience through the implementation of more efficient and climate-smart conservation practices in agriculture. However, these programmes hardly benefit poor communities, particularly women, youth and indigenous people.


The AACJ consortium in South Africa will develop broad alliances on climate justice by uniting movements that represent impacted communities with organizations and campaigns that advance climate justice and challenge extractive industries’ impact on the environment. The consortium will develop the capacity of local organizations to increase their autonomy and ability to self-organize as a transversal grass-roots movement, including by facilitating the development of common agendas and a unified voice between CSOs and climate justice activists, particularly women, youth, indigenous people and local communities.

The AACJ consortium work with local/ impacted communities to


Although there are strong local community-based organizations, including women’s and youth organizations, they often lack capacity to insert themselves in national debates and are poorly represented by the civic movements and networks. Environmental, women’s and youth organizations face challenges in mobilizing their members effectively, due among other things to a lack of capacities and reliance on volunteers. Local communities, AFRICAN ACTIVISTS FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE 95 particularly women, have knowledge on solutions for adaptation and mitigation (e.g. regarding conversation of ecosystems), but these are not visible or taken into account.

  1. challenge unjust policies and practices that are currently in place, such as government support for fossil fuel energy and land grabs; and
  2. support and promote policy reform for climate justice, including mainstreaming of environmental issues throughout government and public policy). Activities include training indigenous people, women, youth and local communities to increase climate-related knowledge and participation in policy procedures.


The programme also support local communities and environmental defenders to articulate and defend their environmental and land rights, through legal empowerment and support Finally, the programme will document best practices on climate-related traditional knowledge and customary practices, for example through participatory action research and provide spaces for sharing, co-creation and promotion/ advocacy.