The Swedish Government has praised a panafrican organization for its transparency and pledged to continue working with it to address the climate crisis in Africa.
Ulla Andren, the Swedish Head of Regional Development Cooperation in Sub-Saharan Africa, yesterday praised Pacja for its ability to manage its more than 1,000 platforms within Africa and handle a huge budget transparently.
The Pacja Executive Director Mithika Mwenda said the network would strive to achieve goals as it had done before, making it to be declared the best climate justice champion in Africa early this year.
“We must stop addressing the climate issue as just climate change, but see the emergency in it by just calling it by name. It’s a Climate Crisis,” he said.
Mr Mwenda, who was in March declared one of the top 100 most influential people on climate justice in the world by the Apolitical, said they also worked with the UN and its agencies, the AU and its agencies as well as regional blocs such as Ecowas, SADC, Comesa, EAC and ECCAS.
“There are countries that are enthusiastic about working with us. But Pacja, despite being present in Francophone Africa, would like to do more in those countries, against cultural, political, language and other challenges. Mali and DRC are already in,” said Mwenda.
The Swedish government, through Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), is funding Pacja’s ‘Deepening African CSOs engagement in post Paris Climate Change Dialogue and Response strategy” project. The three and a half-year project is in its second phase.
The Swedish team, based in Ethiopia, was in Nairobi to follow up on some of the projects it has funded Pacja to do. It is one of Pacja’s main funders.
Ms Ulla urged the network to diversify its funding sources.
Ayele Kebede Gebreyes, the Swedish Programme Manager on Regional Development Cooperation Africa, Environment and Climate in Ethiopia, urged Pacja to form a team to work with labour unions and find a multifaceted approach to addressing the climate crisis.
“Pacja is doing a very good job. I cannot forget about Pacja. We want to partner with you more,” said Ulla.
The network, with its secretariat in Nairobi, says in some countries awareness on climate matters is still low.
Pacja said some teams in other African countries were so committed in the fight against climate crisis, but had weak financial bases, putting the secretariat to work more to achieve goals intended for such. “We are helping them through our outreach, but also preparing them to stand on their own within the shortest time possible,” Mithika said.
The SIDA team urged the Pacja to widen its network to be strongly felt in all parts of Africa as “our future planet heavily relies on our actions today”.
Ms Ulla added: “Pacja has maintained a good reputation on finances use and as such will be able to secure more. Pacja should extend strong presence in 55 African countries for it to increase chances of its success and more funding”.
Ulla also praised Pacja for being transparent enough to be trusted by many organizations, including some in Africa, which include banks.
Pacja is also working with some civil society groups in Sweden to implement projects, but is not getting any funding from them, “as the Swedish Government is already giving us funds,” said Mr Mithika.
“It takes a lot of effort for an organization to achieve the kind of success we have in the last 10 years, but we will not tire. We can only do better,” he added.