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Dossier Introduction

Coverage of COP17- Climate Change and popular struggles

, par Pambazuka

Pambazuka News is a platform that informs and connects those engaged in the struggles for social transformation from pan-Africanist and emancipatory perspectives, enabling them to learn from each other and to have their voices heard above the cacophony of the outputs of corporate media. It has actively sought to create and sustain relationships of solidarity and mutual support across the continent and the African diaspora.

Numerous social movements and campaigning organisations – such as the campaign on the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender and Intersex LBGTI) movements, farmers, shack dwellers and the landless - use Pambazuka News to popularise their cause and to advocate for relevant social policies. In encouraging debate and discussions on the critical issues of the day, Pambazuka News has published perspectives that counter the superficial caricature about Africa that is so prevalent in international media, while ensuring that diverse perspectives can be expressed. But above all, Pambazuka News engages with and portrays the people of Africa as agents of change, people who, despite all the constraints, create knowledge and write their own histories in their every day struggles.

Pambazuka News is produced by a pan-African community of some 2,600 citizens and organisations - academics, policy makers, social activists, women’s organisations, civil society organisations, writers, artists, poets, bloggers, and commentators who together produce insightful, sharp and thoughtful analyses and make it one of the largest and most innovative and influential web forums for social justice in Africa. It’s publishing arm Pambazuka Press, publishes a growing list of book titles on Africa, written by well-known African academics, public intellectuals and activists.

Pambazuka News believe the articles will contribute towards raising public awareness about what is at stake at COP 17, deepening analysis and understanding of the climate crisis and its impact on the people of Africa, creating linkages between academics, activists and journalists and reflecting the advocacy of African civil society organisations in the lead-up and during COP 17.

Pambazuka News in collaboration with Fahamu’s partners engage with others in civil society advocacy and mobilization around the UNFCCC climate talks in Durban in December 2011 as well as the United Nations Rio+20 conference in 2012. In the lead-up to the COP 10 of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan in October 2010, Pambazuka News and ETC Group produced a special 70-page issue of Pambazuka News on New Technologies and Threats to Sovereignty in Africa. The special issue was distributed as a printed document to all the African delegates and many of the other delegates and civil society observers to the COP by ETC Group who were present at all the negotiating sessions.

This series of special issues of Pambazuka News leading up to the Durban meetings, Rio+20, and beyond. Through the special issues series we provide a space for African voices on some of the key issues related to climate change and environmental destruction such as climate justice, the new “green economy”, the privatization of the commons and the commodification of life, food sovereignty, water and water privatization, community resource management and protection of bio-diversity.

We see value in encouraging dialogue with those in the Americas who are advancing the charter for the « rights of mother earth » (and the resistance there to privatization, especially in Bolivia) to the « awakenings » in Africa that are described and expressed through and in Pambazuka - all in the context of dispossession, corporate occupation and commodification of life which are accelerating the collapse of the very ecosystems that sustain human life – what indigenous peoples of the Americas are calling “matricide”. Other special issues in this series would have a particular focus – such as an issue produced with the labour movement addressing the implications of the « green economy » in terms of production and employment in African countries. The Rio+2- and Beyond series of special issues will be a useful way to connect diverse African perspectives with current reflection and action from other parts of the global South. Through our direct continuous outreach to alternative media, both print and radio, as well as to social movements and activist scholars, we will continue to encourage the inclusion of more African voices in the representation and analysis of current global events and debates in Europe and North America as well.

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