The Africa Europe Foundation is partnering with a broad range of high-level partners, including the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the Africa Union Commission, the European Investment Bank, the African Development Bank, and the Africa-Europe Energy Partnership in a series of ‘Green Talks’ in the lead up to the EU-Africa High-Level Green Investment Forum to be held in Lisbon on the 23 April 2021.
The ‘Green Talks’ are aimed at sharing experiences, innovative approaches, and opportunities to mobilise capital and expertise to promote the Green Transition in Africa and in Europe.
Events and virtual meetings will take place across Africa and Europe, beginning on 24 March and culminating on 23 April, with the High-Level Green Investment Forum which will bring together African and European political leaders, policy makers and business representatives to discuss partnership and practical solutions to accelerate sustainable development, green investment and post pandemic recovery on both continents.
As we enter the final decade to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), bold ambitions are needed to deliver on climate action. Ramping up innovation, investment and partnership between Africa and Europe opens the door to a multitude of opportunities to address the challenges facing both continents. Now more than ever, enhancing women’s participation and leadership in climate action at all levels will be critical to securing a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future for all.
The unique constellation of strategic milestones in 2021 and 2022 (including the UN Food Systems Summit, the UN High-Level Political Dialogue on Energy, the UN Conference on Biodiversity, COP26 in the United Kingdom and COP27 in an African nation) provides the much-needed momentum for the Africa-Europe partnership to pivot efforts to fight climate change towards not only a fresh a new narrative, but a gutsy strategic rethink, with greater emphasis on women’s leadership, the centrality of cities, civil society and youth.
Women climate protagonists on both continents have an opportunity to work together, share practices and learn from each other on issues such as biodiversity, desertification, food systems transformation and sustainable energy. Investing in a just and inclusive transition with women, cities, civil society and youth on the forefront could deliver many of the jobs and the long-term prosperity that Africa and Europe need to achieve their visions for Agenda 2063 and the Green Deal.
Questions to be discussed include:
- How are women uniquely positioned to be agents of change to fight against the climate crisis?
- Who are the women and girls at the forefront of spearheading the sustainable transition in Africa and Europe?
- How should both continents support intergenerational dialogue with women, civil society and youth to capitalise on the burgeoning strength of their vision for the future?
- What best practices and lessons can be shared from local and city level experiences to maximise the implementation and impact of the commitments in the upcoming political calendar?
Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone
Founding Partner and CEO of Regenopolis and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Maria Madalena Lobo Carvalho Fischer
Director-General for Foreign Policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal
Nadia Gullestrup Christensen
Climate Activist and Denmark's Youth Delegate to the UN for COP26
Director of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD)
Partner at Dalberg Global Development Advisors and Member of the Africa Europe Foundation’s Women Leaders Network
Director, Asia, Peace, Security & Defense, Digital & Chief spokesperson
Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr has served as Mayor of Freetown since May 2018. Driven by her commitment to transform the city, the three-year Transform Freetown plan adopts an inclusive and data-driven approach to tackle a variety of issues, including environmental degradation. She is a chartered accountant and finance professional with over 25 years of private sector experience in strategic planning, risk management consulting and project management.
Diane Binder is a business executive and social entrepreneur, with extensive experience in developing public-private alliances which promote urban resilience, climate adaptation and mitigation. She is a Founding Partner and CEO of Regenopolis, an initiative for regenerative cities in Africa. In addition to serving as a member of the French Presidential Council for Africa, Diane is also the President and Co-Founder of Action Emploi Réfugiés. She previously worked at SUEZ, a leader in water supply and waste management services.
Madalena Carvalho Fischer is an experienced diplomat, having previously served as the ambassador of Portugal in Cairo, non-resident ambassador to Eritrea, Jordan and Sudan, as well as observer to the League of Arab States. She was also diplomatic advisor to the President of the Portuguese Parliament and head of the office of the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and the Deputy Prime Minister. Carvalho Fischer has been posted at the embassies in Bonn, Berlin and Islamabad and served as head of division in the Directorate for Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Office of the Secretary-General.
Nadia Gullestrup Christen is a climate activist and student of environmental economics, who currently serves as the Danish Youth Delegate to the UN for climate and environment. She is also an elected member of the Danish Youth Council, represents 600,000 Danish young people, and an SDG ambassador, in which her role involves educating and engaging young people around the sustainable development goals. Previously, Gullestrup Christen was a spokesman for climate and environment in the Danish social liberal youth party.
Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg has received widespread recognition for her work in women’s empowerment. Before becoming Director of AWARD, she founded and served as the former executive director of Akili Dada, an award-winning leadership incubator, which contributes to the transformation of African women leadership. She previously served as an assistant professor and lecturer, focusing on topics from gender to the role of technology in social activism.
Madji Sock is a Partner at Dalberg’s Senegal office. With over 20 years of experience in the implementation and management of development projects, her work currently focuses on strengthening government ownership of development sector programmes. Sock is also the Co-Founder of the Women’s Investment Club Senegal (WIC), which offers women-led businesses privileged access to financial instruments. Previously, she worked for Deloitte, promoting black economic empowerment in South Africa’s agricultural sector.
Prior to joining Friends of Europe, Dharmendra Kanani was director of policy at the European Foundation Centre (EFC). He was the England director at the Big Lottery Fund, the largest independent funder in the UK and fourth largest in the world. Dharmendra has held senior positions in the public and voluntary sector and advisor to numerous ministerial policy initiatives across the UK.
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