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UK Commits £100 Million to Climate Change in Vulnerable Countries

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UK Commits £100 Million to Climate Change in Vulnerable Countries

By: Michael Mike

The United Kingdom Government has made commitments to help vulnerable countries strengthen their resilience to the increasingly frequent and severe effects of climate change.

The commitment was made at the ongoing COP28 Summit in Dubai, UAE.

According to a statement, International Development and Africa Minister Andrew Mitchell announced £100 million to support some of the most climate-vulnerable countries tackle climate change.

The statement stated that this will support an initiative to strengthen early warning systems in countries on the front line of climate change, giving people advanced warning of cyclones, flooding and other extreme weather so they can move away from danger, saving lives and protecting vulnerable communities.

The statement added that the funding will also help make health care in these areas more resilient and able to withstand disasters, like floods, and ready to deal with spikes in infectious diseases, like cholera and malaria, due to floods caused by climate change.

Recognising the urgency of the situation, which forces 26 million into poverty every year, the UK Government also joined calls for bolder collective action to protect the lives, health and livelihoods of those most impacted by climate change.

This supports the Prime Minister announcing major funding for climate projects and stressing the need for ambitious, innovative and pragmatic action.

International Development and Africa Minister Andrew Mitchell, said: “The devastating effects of climate change hit the most vulnerable the hardest.

“These funding commitments will help countries and people be better prepared and protected against extreme weather events and natural disasters. They will help roll out measures such as early warning systems, and open up access to climate finance to build resilient health services.

“The UK will continue to press for a bold and ambitious approach to support those on the frontline of our changing climate, and to create a safer planet for us all.”

On behalf of the UK, Minister Mitchell endorsed the ‘Getting Ahead of Disasters’ Charter, the ‘COP28 Declaration on Relief, Recovery and Peace’, and the ‘COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health’.

Speaking at COP28, he outlined details of the funding package, which include: Nearly £20 million for a package of disaster risk financing and early warning systems. This will help the one-third of the world’s population who are not covered by early warning systems to prepare for climate shocks and extreme weather, reducing disaster-related mortality and damage. It will also provide affordable insurance against climate disasters, such as droughts.

Funding of £36 million for climate action in the Middle East and North Africa to support long-term climate stability. This will mobilise $500 million for clean energy and green growth projects, support 450,000 people to adapt to climate change, and support 200,000 women in better protecting their families from climate shocks. This delivers on the UK’s commitment to scale up pre-arranged finance for crisis recovery.

Over £4.4 million to improve access to climate finance for Small Island Developing States and enable them to adapt to the impacts of climate change, with support from the Global Environment Facility’s Special Climate Change Fund and the Alliance of Small Island States.

Another £3 million for a new research hub in partnership with Canada, to help local communities address climate shocks and adapt to the long-term impacts of a changing climate. This will be delivered through the Climate Adaptation and Resilience (CLARE) programme, launched by the UK at COP26.

Up to £18 million for an innovative new programme to adapt and strengthen health systems. This will help partner countries manage the growing health impacts of climate change, from infectious diseases and food shortages, to water insecurity and other health-related emergencies. It will be the first climate and health programme to be announced by a G7 country.

A further £20 million for a new research programme to guide the UK’s future work on climate-resilient health systems, recognising the fast-evolving agenda and the need for a stronger evidence base of what works to address the growing threats from climate change to health.

A total of £3 million for a new partnership with the International Rescue Committee to reduce the impact of climate-related crises on schools, students and communities. The Climate Resilient Education Systems Trial will build an evidence base of effective approaches to combatting climate change in and through education.

The statement said: At the COP28 Summit on Sunday (3 December), the UK convened experts and thought leaders for a panel discussion on climate security. It was the first time that the UK has hosted such an event, with the US, the EU, Iraq, Kenya, Mali, NATO, and United Nations Development Programme in attendance. It aims to improve collective understanding of the security implications of climate change, including global instability and conflict, while exploring best practice to respond to these risks through data-informed policy making, stress testing, analytical foresight capability, and international cooperation.

UK Commits £100 Million to Climate Change in Vulnerable Countries

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Women Stakeholders: Women Political Participation Would Stimulate Diverse Perspectives, Empower Communities

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Women Stakeholders: Women Political Participation Would Stimulate Diverse Perspectives, Empower Communities

By: Michael Mike

The Coalition of Women Political Participation Partner’s Working Group is calling for constitutional gender inclusion to drive women’s political participation, which is necessary for diverse perspectives in decision-making and the promotion of good governance.

The group during a meeting to brainstorm on actions that should be evolved to ensure gender equality in political representation in the country, said women’s political participation would stimulate diverse perspectives and empower communities.

At the coordination and strategy meeting on affirmative action reforms to increase women’s political representation in the ongoing constitution review process in Abuja supported by the United Nations Women, the President of Women in Politics Forum (WIPF), Ms. Ebere Ifendu, stressed the need for affirmative action to strengthen advocacies and to effectively influence policymakers in the ongoing constitution review to promote women’s political participation.

She said: “The Nigeria’s constitution review presents a unique opportunity to rectify the underrepresentation of women in politics. We must seize this moment to create a more inclusive democracy, harnessing the potential of all citizens, regardless of gender. As advocates, we believe that affirmative action is an important tool to address past injustices and ensure fair representation of women in the political landscape. We need more participation of women in politics. We need a quota system. We need affirmative action because for all the countries that have a certain percentage of women in governance, it is due to legislation. Without legislation, we may not achieve anything.”

She added that the meeting was to coordinate all efforts, including advocacy for the adoption and enactment of reforms to boost women’s political representation in the constitution review process.

“The current constitutional review process presents a unique opportunity to incorporate gendered affirmative action reforms into Nigeria’s legal framework, demonstrating a commitment to equity, equality, and inclusivity,” Ifendu said.

She added that: “As Nigerian women, we went to court and got a judgment on the National Gender Policy. We are saying that since there is a judgment, we should begin to work on implementation and be able to demand the implementation of the court order. We heard that the government has appealed. We have not received any notice of such an appeal. So, we want to believe that the law, as we speak today, is that the gender policy must be respected, and it’s talking about 35 percent affirmative action.”

On her part, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and women’s advocate, Professor Joy Ezeilo, said it is time to have total inclusion that accommodates and recognizes the rights of women, youths, and persons with disabilities to participate and be included in governance and decision-making in the country.

She said: “We are so behind other countries. So, what are we talking about that we cannot operationalize 35 or 30 percent? And we are still talking about something below? Women should not accept anything below 35 percent of political positions. We went to Beijing in 1995 and it was agreed that at least 30 percent affirmative action be given to us over 25 years ago. We have to find a way that this constitution becomes inclusive while addressing other problems in Nigeria.

“There is also the issue of justice, fairness, and equity in the application of resources for the greater benefit of all Nigerians. So, it is time to take action to rectify these wrongs of the past and these structural inequalities and discrimination against women.”

The former Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria, Mrs. Ene Obi along side the Director of Planning and Statistics at the Maryam Babangida National Centre for Women Development, Jummai-Idonije
emphasized the need to engage the legislature, media, grassroots women, and other stakeholders to increase women’s political representation.

They also called for collaboration and commitment from women politicians to increase the number of women in leadership positions.

The stakeholders urged the 10th National Assembly to operationalize the 35 percent affirmative action, as observed in other countries and in line with international standards, to promote equity, fairness, and justice.

The coordination and strategy meeting, supported by UN Women is to unify efforts among diverse organisations to establish a coordinated programmatic approach that leverages the strengths and resources of each participating organisation towards a common goal in advocating for affirmative action reforms to increase women’s political representation

Women Stakeholders: Women Political Participation Would Stimulate Diverse Perspectives, Empower Communities

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ECOWAS Court Deepens Cooperation with ICRC

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ECOWAS Court Deepens Cooperation with ICRC

By: Michael Mike

The ECOWAS Court of Justice and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) achieved a significant milestone on July 12, 2024, by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This MoU, a pivotal moment in their partnership, is poised to deepen their collaboration in international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

The MoU, signed at the Court’s seat in Abuja, aims to engage both parties on topics of mutual interest through various collaborative activities, such as trainings, roundtables, and joint conferences.

In his opening remarks at the signing ceremony, Justice Edward Amoako Asante, President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, expressed his pleasure in attending this important event. He highlighted the long-standing relationship between the ECOWAS Court and the ICRC, noting the valuable training and support provided by the ICRC to build the Court’s capacity in International Humanitarian Law. He emphasized the importance of renewing this relationship to continue developing jurisprudence in new areas of law and welcomed the ongoing cooperation.

Yann Bonzon, Head of Delegation for the ICRC, addressed the attendees, underscoring the ICRC’s historic and valuable relationship with ECOWAS. He detailed the evolution of this partnership, including the first MoU signed in 2001 and the most recent revision in 2023. Mr. Bonzon emphasized the crucial role of the ECOWAS Court in safeguarding International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL). He expressed confidence that the initiatives born out of this MoU will enhance the expertise and role of the Court in applying these laws, thus better addressing humanitarian challenges in West Africa. Yann Bonzon was accompanied by Rafiullah Qureshi, Deputy Head of Delegation, ICRC and Juliet Kelechi Unubi, Humanitarian Affairs and Diplomacy Advisor for the ICRC.

Elaborating on the objectives of the MoU, Juliet Kelechi Unubi, highlighted the mutual benefits of leveraging each other’s expertise, facilitating access to expert opinions, publications, and training. She underscored the unwavering commitment to continue IHL training for ECOWAS Court judges and staff, a key initiative to strengthen their knowledge and interpretation of international human rights law. This emphasis on continuous training reassures the audience about the Court’s commitment to maintaining and enhancing its expertise.

Concluding the ceremony of the signing of the memorandum, Dr. Yaouza Ouro-Sama, Chief Registrar of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, expressed deep appreciation to all those who collaborated on the finalisation and signing of the MoU. This expression of gratitude made the participants feel appreciated for their role in the partnership. He commended the ICRC’s global efforts in protecting victims of armed conflict and violence and expressed confidence in the effectiveness of the MoU. He extended heartfelt gratitude to the ICRC for its continuous support and invaluable contributions to the Court’s activities.

The Vice President of the Court and other judges, the Director of Administration and Finance, the Director of Research and Documentation, and the Deputy Chief Registrar were also present at the event.

ECOWAS Court Deepens Cooperation with ICRC

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ECOWAS Court Holds Republic of Ghana liable for Breach of Citizen’s Right to Information

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ECOWAS Court Holds Republic of Ghana liable for Breach of Citizen’s Right to Information

By: Michael Mike

The ECOWAS Court of Justice on 12 July 2024, held that the Republic of Ghana violated the right to information of Isaac Mensah and ordered the State to provide him with the requested information.

In the judgment delivered by Justice Edward Amoako Asante, Judge Rapporteur, the Court ordered the Republic of Ghana to release to Isaac Mensah, documents relating to the investigations on the enforced disappearance of his father and subsequent actions. The documents include a 2009 UN/ECOWAS Investigation Report, the coroner’s report on bodies evacuated to Ghana and report on the disbursement of the money paid by The Gambia to the affected families, among others.

The Court dismissed all other claims sought by Isaac Mensah and the Registered Trustees of African Network Against Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances (ANEKED) against the Republic of Ghana concerning the arrest, detention, and disappearance of some West African migrants in The Gambia in July 2005.

In the application with suit number ECW/CCJ/APP/47/20, filed on 18 November 2020, the Applicants alleged that Peter Mensah, a Ghanaian and father of Isaac Mensah, was among some West African migrants travelling to Europe through The Gambia who were arrested by state security agents of The Gambia and killed or disappeared.

They averred that Ghana violated its human rights obligations under the African Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) by its failure to thoroughly investigate the enforced disappearance of Peter Mensah in The Gambia, provide effective remedy and grant the Applicants access to information relating to the unlawful detention and disappearance of Peter Mensah.

They asked the Court to direct the State to conduct an effective investigation into the disappearance of Peter Mensah, give copies of past fact-finding reports and other requested documents to the Applicants, and pay the sum of 1,500,000 USD as compensation to the first Applicant, Isaac Mensah.

In response, the Republic of Ghana challenged the competence of the Court to hear the matter since the incident occurred in The Gambia, outside the jurisdiction of the Republic of Ghana. It also objected the admissibility of the application on the grounds that the Applicants did not establish their relationship to Peter Mensah, the primary victim of the alleged human rights violations. It therefore asked the Court to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction and inadmissibility.

On jurisdiction, the Court declared it had jurisdiction over Isaac Mensah’s claim relating to violation of the right to information but declined jurisdiction over alleged violation of the prohibition against enforced disappearance, right to effective remedy and right to truth. The Court noted that incidents forming the basis of those claims occurred outside the territory of the Republic of Ghana and therefore the Court did not have jurisdiction over them.

On admissibility, the Court declared the first Applicant’s application relating to the violation of the right to information was admissible but that he lacked the capacity to sue on behalf of other 23 individuals claiming to be members of the Mensah family due to lack of authorisation to sue on their behalf. It also struck out the second Applicant, Registered Trustees of African Network Against Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances (ANEKED) from the suit for lack of evidence of any mandate to bring the application on behalf of the Applicants.

In its findings, the Court noted that despite getting a waiver of confidentiality from The Gambia on a 2009 UN/ECOWAS Investigation Report on the alleged detention and enforced disappearance of Peter Mensah and others, Ghana had failed to release it to Isaac Mensah. Consequently, the Court held that the Republic of Ghana breached the Applicant, Isaac Mensah’s right to information contrary to Article 9(1) of the African Charter and Article 19(2) of the ICCPR.

The Court ordered the Republic of Ghana to release the Report and other documents requested by the Applicant to him within four months of the service of the judgment.

Also on the bench were Justice Gberi-Bè Ouattara and Justice Ricardo Claúdio Monteiro Gonçalves.

ECOWAS Court Holds Republic of Ghana liable for Breach of Citizen’s Right to Information

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