News / Africa

Thousands March for Climate Action in Durban

Demonstrators march outside the U.N. climate conference in Durban, South Africa, December 3, 2011.
Demonstrators march outside the U.N. climate conference in Durban, South Africa, December 3, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio

Activists, rights groups and citizens from around the world took to the streets of Durban Saturday to urge government negotiators at the U.N. climate change conference to take their demands seriously.

In a peaceful show of force, thousands of people marched through the streets of Durban toward the downtown conference center where delegates from nearly 200 nations are debating efforts to combat climate change.

The diverse crowd - representing groups from all across Africa, the United States and Latin America - were all united in their disappointment so far in the U.N. negotiations.

Sanele and Shepherd are two high school students from just outside Durban.

"What we are demanding? We are demanding for COP 17 to stop," said Sanele.

"Must end," said Shepherd.

"Must end actually, yes," Sanele echoed.

"It's been many years speaking about climate change, it's been 17 years now," said Shepherd.

"There must be a solution," said Sanele.

COP-17, as it is known, is the 17th Conference of Parties - an annual meeting of world governments and interested parties aimed at forging large-scale agreements to tackle climate change.

But at the march in Durban the Conference of Parties was known by another name: the "Conference of Polluters."

Nigerian environmental activist Nnimmo Bassey addressed the crowd outside the gates of the Durban convention center.

"We don't want Africa to be cooked, we don't want Africa to be roasted, we don't want Africa to be boiled, we demand, we the people of Africa, demand that our leaders should hear us," said Bassey.

Bassey also demanded that negotiators agree to a new legally-binding mandate to cut carbon dioxide emissions, blamed for global warming.

Governments at COP17 are considering a second commitment period to the Kyoto protocol - the current legal mandate in place to curb carbon emissions.  

While the European Union is strongly in favor of the move, other countries that were part of Kyoto, including Canada, Russia and Japan are losing interest.  The United States has said it will not accept any legally-binding mandate.

Demonstrators handed a letter over to the South African president of COP17, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and the U.N. executive secretary of the conference, Christina Figueres.

Figueres thanked the crowd for their enthusiasm.

"I'm well aware that it's not just you that it's millions around the world.  Minister Mashabane and I are working to push governments in that direction.  We are working tirelessly.  I want you to know they were working until four o'clock this morning and we will continue to work," said Figueres.

Negotiations will continue over the weekend on several key issues including the second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol and the establishment of a Green Climate Fund to help developing nations.

Expectations for a major climate deal have been low, while the call for action has been as loud as ever.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More