[Press release]

  • 350Africa.org launches #WeLeadYou campaign with demand for leaders to hold rich Global North countries accountable for starting climate change
  • South Africa, Jordan, Egypt, DRC, Ghana, Kenya, Burundi and Nigeria to stage events as part of massive global People’s Climate Mobilization on the weekend before 23rd September Climate Change Summit in New York

JOHANNESBURG: Climate change movement 350Africa.org today launched the #WeLeadYou campaign across Africa and the Arab World, calling for action not words from the regions leaders due to attend the Climate Summit in New York on the 23rd September.

The campaign, which goes live on 350Africa.org today, includes a petition calling for African and Arab World Presidents to hold rich countries accountable for starting climate change, and people are also sending their climate demands direct to their Presidents and leaders via Twitter.

Climate campaigners in South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Burundi, Egypt and Jordan are gearing up to hold marches, acoustic gigs, bike rallies and events with communities affected by the impacts of climate change in the run up to the summit, putting massive pressure on leaders to make real progress at the discussions.

#WeLeadYou comes as global leaders have continually failed to deliver a binding agreement to cut CO2 and tackle global warming, with last week’s US African Leaders Summit giving little airtime to how to tackle the potentially devastating climate impacts on the poorest people in our countries.

Launching #WeLeadYou in Johannesburg, 350 Africa and Arab World Team leader Ferrial Adam said:

“Global leaders have failed us time and again in the fight against climate change. Enough is enough. We must all act now before catastrophic climate change destroys millions of people’s lives.

“It is time for action not words. Through the #WeLeadYou campaign people from Egypt to Jordan and South Africa to DRC are coming together in solidarity to show our Presidents the way to fight climate change.

“Our leaders must hold the rich countries of the Global North accountable for starting climate change and show climate leadership by choosing clean solar and wind energy over dirty fossil fuels. Our Presidents must fight for climate justice for their people at the Climate Summit on 23rd September.”

The latest United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report 5 published earlier in 2014 again reiterated that the Arab world is likely to be hit hard – and Africa hardest of all – by the impacts of climate change including rising temperatures and extreme weather events.

From small-scale farmers to fisher folk, communities are already struggling to survive an increase in drought and floods caused by rising global temperatures. Climate campaigners across Africa and the Arab World are already seeing the impacts in their countries and are joining #WeLeadYou to demand action from their leaders.

Sarah Rifaat, 350 Arab World Co-ordinator says of Egypt, “the northern Coast and Nile Delta is where most of our population is concentrated and is therefore at high risk of rising sea levels.  Extreme weather is already affecting agricultural crops and will have devastating impacts on Egypt’s marine ecosystem and in turn the tourism sector.”

Usman Inuwa, 350 Nigeria team-leader says “fertile lands are turning to deserts, and weather patterns are becoming even more unpredictable in Nigeria as the result of climate change. We are saying to President Goodluck Jonathan it is time for Nigeria to invest in clean alternative energy solutions that will also bring opportunities of job creation for young Nigerians’”.

Nqobile Cleopatra Shezi, 350 Community Organiser in South Africa says that the country’s addiction to coal has to stop. “We are demanding our leaders to stop signing deals for more climate killers like the Medupi and Kusile power stations” Shezi comments. “We demand solar and wind energy now. We demand affordable solar systems for all. We are dying from impacts of climate change while others are enjoying the profits of fossil fuels.”

Chibeze Ezekiel, of Ghana Reducing Our Carbon (G-ROC) is concerned about the climate change impacts on Ghana’s agricultural sector saying that “climate change means an environmental situation affecting the agricultural sector which is believed to be the back-bone of Ghana’s economy. It also means increased disaster occurrences. Our leaders must take action to salvage the economy from disaster with emphasis on the agricultural sector. They must act now if human lives and properties are to be protected from drought, floods and heat waves.”

Landry Ninteretse, 350 Francophone Africa Regional Co-ordinator says, “climate change is a matter of survival for millions of people in Central Africa and elsewhere on the continent. It is an immediate threat to food security, lifestyles and livelihoods, especially for the most vulnerable. If our leaders really care about our future, they must lead us on creating an economic system based on renewable energy instead of perpetuate the dramatic experience of fossil fuels.”

350 Africa and Arab Team Leader Adam concludes:

“The rich countries of the Global North started burning fossil fuels 300 years ago but now the whole planet is at risk of catastrophic climate change. South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, DRC, Burundi, Kenya, Ethiopia, Jordan and many other countries all have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the West and build smart and socially just economies, that choose clean solar and wind energy over dirty fossil fuels. We Lead You Mr and Mrs Presidents, now it’s your turn to get a climate deal that protects your people.’

#WeLeadYou is part of the global climate movement coming together for People’s Climate Mobilisation rallies and marches in major world cities over the weekend of the 20th and 21st September ahead of the Climate Summit on the 23rd September.


Notes to Editors

The full #WeLeadYou Africa and Arab World petition be viewed at:


The key demands being directed to African and Arab World leaders are:

  1. Hold rich countries of the Global North accountable for starting climate change. Make sure they pay their fare share to help people in our countries adapt to climate change.
  2. Choose clean solar and wind over dirty fossil fuels. The leaders of Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and DRC can choose clean energy and end the addiction to fossil fuels.

#WeLeadYou country events

Country events are being held as part of the global People’s Climate Mobilisation and will happen in the run up to the UN Climate Summit on the 23rd September.  

21 – Egypt – climate rally in Cairo and one day festival in Alexandria

19 – South Africa – #WeLeadYou Unplugged music and poetry event, and handover of community petitions at the Union Buildings in Pretoria

20 / 21 – Nigeria – Niger Delta village event recording the testimonies of community members affected by climate change

20 – Ghana – public rally and festival in Accra with music and display of renewable energy solutions

20 – DRC – Kinshasa music concert, and an event at Lake Kivu calling for better protection of natural resources especially in the Virunga National Park

20 – Kenya – A rally in Nairobi to showcase the solutions to climate impacts

21 – Seychelles – Bike rally to take back the roads and promote cycling as an eco-friendly and low carbon mode of transport

For more information go to 350Africa.org, visit the Facebook.com/350africa.org or follow us @350Africa on Twitter.

About 350Africa.org

350Africa.org is building an African movement to fight climate change.

We are part of a million-people strong global climate movement that campaigns through grassroots organising and mass public actions in 188 countries.

The number 350 means climate safety: to preserve a livable planet, scientists tell us we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of 400 parts per million and rising, to below 350 ppm.

Climate change will hit Africa hardest so this is about climate justice. Many of the poorest Africans, women and children are already facing more drought, floods and extreme weather that threaten their livelihoods and push food prices up. The fact is climate change is going to affect all of us.

We believe that an African grassroots movement can hold our leaders accountable to the realities of science and the principles of climate justice. That movement is rising from the bottom up all over the continent and is coming together to champion solutions that will ensure a better future for all.

Note: 350Arabworld.org will be launching soon.

About the UN Climate Summit

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders, from government, finance, business, and civil society to Climate Summit 2014 this 23 September to galvanize and catalyze climate action.  He has asked these leaders to bring bold announcements and actions to the Summit that will reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience, and mobilize political will for a meaningful legal agreement in 2015. Climate Summit 2014 provides a unique opportunity for leaders to champion an ambitious vision, anchored in action that will enable a meaningful global agreement in 2015.

It is expected that several prominent leaders from the Africa and Arab world regions will attend.


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Assessment Report 5

The executive summary and full reports, published in 2014, can be found here:

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change


For further information or to request interviews with 350 Africa and Arab World spokespeople and specific country campaigners please contact Adi Mistry Frost, 350 Africa & Arab World Communications on +27767699302 or adi@350.org.