LILONGWE (Malawi NewsNow ) — About 21 local cyclists will join nine other African countries in cycling from Maputo to Nairobi as the world prepares for the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris.
They will cover close to 740 kilometres in 17 days.
The cycling campaign, dubbed We Have Faith (WHF) ACT NOW for Climate Justice, will probably be one of the Pan-African biggest campaigns uniting several nations in the SADC and East Africa, collecting petitions from the masses to present before world leaders.
In 2011 about six safari trucks with youths drawn from more than ten African countries, with representation from the US, UK, Norway, and Sweden drove from Nairobi to Durban collecting petitions which were presented to world leaders meeting at the COP17. The petitions, signed by scores of African and other nationalities, demand for a legally binding deal around climate change.
“The cycling is our advocacy tool to enable the African voice to be heard when world leaders meet and decide on the future of the world. As a faith fronted campaign we have the strong belief that we shall deliver our African and in particular Malawian demands in Paris in December.
“Developed countries must lead the way in shaping a green and sustainable future for generations to come. In Malawi we have already suffered serious climate change effects specifically in the Lower Shire, Salima and Karonga, among other places. We demand that an agreement be reached where at emissions should be cut down to below 2 degrees,” said M’theto Lungu, the campaign’s national coordinating team leader.
The campaign, which has brought together faith mother bodies, youths, civil society organisations, faith based donor agencies, and the private sector, among other players, will kick off on 25th August in Maputo, Mozambique and end in Nairobi, Kenya in November just in time for COP21. South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda are participating in the relay cycling event which will take about 6,000 kilometres and about 71 days to complete, involving 10 climate justice concerts in 10 cities.
Plant-and-Adopt-a-Tree exercises, special Faith Climate Change Weekends, interfaith communiques on Faith and Climate Change, among other activities will be conducted along the route.
The 21 Malawian cyclists will take over from Zambian cyclists at Mwami Border before handing over the relay cycling campaign to neighbouring Tanzania at Songwe Border.