fpva

Celebración de la asamblea general anual de la FPVA 2016

Los días 18, 19 y 20 de noviembre recién pasado se dieron cita en Rio de Janeiro Brasil, la delegación de la Federación de los Partidos Verdes de las Américas para celebrar su XVII Asamblea General Anual, asistiendo los representantes de Partidos Verdes de Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Estados Unidos, Guatemala, México, Perú y República Dominicana.

La apertura estuvo a cargo de Carlos Ramón González (Colombia)  Co-Presidente Ejecutivo, Fabiano Carnevale (Brasil) Co-Presidente y Leonardo Alvarez (México) Co-Presidente.

La bienvenida al evento la dieron los altos representantes del anfitrión Partido Verde de Brasil: José Luiz Penna/Presidente Nacional del Partido; Carla Piranda/Secretaria Nacional de Organización del Partido y Fabiano Carnevale/Presidente del Partido de la ciudad de Rio de Janeiro y Secretario de Relaciones Internacionales.

Durante el Seminario de la reunión abierta se tuvo la oportunidad de contar con la participación del Ex candidato presidencial Eduardo Jorge, quien  durante su campaña tuvo mucha repercusión en las redes sociales, especialmente con la juventud. También hubo exposición de un representante del Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, de la Fundación Verde Herbert Daniel y el tema Mujeres en la Política a cargo de Julia Duppré de la Secretaria de la Mujer de la FPVA.

En la segunda parte del programa se escuchó el informe de país de cada partido donde expresaron la situación política, social y ambiental que se vive así como la acción de los partidos verdes.

La tercera y última parte del evento consistió en la reunión privada para delegados oficiales, donde se discutió el tema del IV Congreso de Los Verdes Globales a celebrarse en marzo/abril del 2017 en Liverpool. Para el punto de las membresías destacó la incorporación a la familia de la FPVA del Partido Verde de Argentina con su presidenta Dra. Silvia Vásquez y se dará acompañamiento a los partidos verdes emergentes de Panamá, Trinidad y Tobago, Ecuador y Uruguay para incorporarlos a la Federación.

Al final la XVII Asamblea de la FPVA emitió las resoluciones siguientes: a) Solicitud de cierre total y definitivo de la mina Veladero ubicada en la provincia de San Juan en Argentina; b) Condena y censura a la acción depredadora y extractivista de la mayor riqueza biológica en la amazonia boliviana en las áreas protegidas del Madidi y Pilon Lajas. c) Solicitud al gobierno canadiense a ejercer un mayor control y supervisión sobre sus empresas mineras que trabajan en América Latina. d) Condena por el asesinato del dirigente ambiental y del Partido Verde colombiano Erley Monroy Fierro. E) Respaldo incondicional al nuevo acuerdo de paz firmado entre el gobierno del presidente Santos y la guerrilla de las FARC en Colombia. F) Denuncia del megaproyecto extractivista denominado Arco Minero del Orinoco, en Venezuela.

Al cierre se eligió a México para la Asamblea 2017.

/Matilde Baján

Project coordinator at CEMAT; Centro Mesoamericano de Estudios sobre Tecnología Apropiada 

climate-change

Climate financing as Gender equality catalyst[1]

Relations between climate change and gender equality are more and more in the focus. A lot (but not nearly enough) has already been said about disproportional effects that climate change have on women, who constitute the majority of the population already affected by climate change or being under the direct threat. Worldwide, women have less access to opportunities such as change of job, to travel, own land, participate in legal/political/social processes and decision making, etc. All this lower women’s access and possibilities to equally (if at all) participate in local and global processes of fighting climate change.

I would like to believe that we do not have to open the debate why gender perspective should be taken into account when talking about climate change. If not for the all above mentioned, women account for about 50% of the population and we can’t ignore half of the target group.

However tireless efforts of the civil society, activists and politicians succeeded in bringing to light gender perspective in climate change discussions, education, and decision making. Hereby we will take a short look into climate financing and its gender perspectives.

First of all it has to be clear that making climate finance gender sensitive did not happen just like that. We should rather see it as big victory for outspoken climate feminists. Two basic perspectives on which this framework is based on are: true sustainability can not be achieved without gender perspective, and gender equality can not be achieved unless integrated at the very beginning of the process and in every aspect of the process.

Speaking about concrete funds[2], for example, already in 2011 Kyoto protocol Adaptation fund and Global Environmental Facility (GEF) had certain gender mainstreaming references. These were important steps but there was still a lot to be done. In 2014 for example only 18% of the projects under the GEF Climate mitigation work addressed gender.

The Green climate fund is the first multilateral fund to include gender equality in all layers of its work. For example gender equality as regards boards or staff is not only applicable to the fund’s own structure but to all stakeholders’ as well. All implementers of the project need to prove gender mainstreamed portfolio, proving that gender equality is not only a project requirement for one small part of their act, but organically embedded in the stakeholders’ principles of operation. This affects multinational banks, development funds, consulting agencies and other institutions that were of course not the biggest fans of #WomenOnBoards alike initiatives. Needless to say that when it came to final beneficiaries, projects needed to prove a sustainable contribution to gender equality and an improved position of women.

It is worth mentioning that climate funds’ gendered regulations work in favor for small to medium enterprises, as they are more likely to be owned by women or at least have better gender balance records then big multinational consortiums. Thus we see that gender regulations boost diversification of involved actors as well as make climate action more rooted to the local level.

Climate funds are contributing to gender equality a great deal. Though we need to safeguard achieved regulations and make them mandatory for other funds as well. Civil society, women organizations, etc. must be involved in monitoring and evaluation processes and ensure that work done through climate funds complement and amplify our struggles for women rights in other fields as well.

/Vesna Jusup

Works with member relations at the European Green Party secretariat 

Former project leader at Cooperation and Development Network of Eastern Europe

 

[1] *This text was inspired and fueled by Liane Schalatek, Associate director at Heinrich Boell Foundation North America office, who tirelessly pushes for gender issues to be in the agenda of Climate discussions and close to the heart of the Climate financing

[2] Schalatek, Nakhooda: Gender and Climate Finance, Overseas development institute, 2016  https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/9321.pdf

 

A legally binding international treaty on climate change should be the ultimate target

Marrakech, Morocco hosted the22nd Conference of Parties for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC)-COP22 between 7th-18th November 2016. This conference also acted as the first session of the conference of Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1), which entered into force on 4th November.

Several world leaders and state representatives recommitted themselves to the implementation of the Paris Agreement- a positive step in combating climate change. The remaining challenge though, is still the lack of an international legally binding mechanism to punish climate change defaulters.

The outcomes of the Paris Agreement were great but were non-binding and therefore not an international treaty. Countries voluntarily set their national targets for carbon emissions, a serious weakness, since it’s not an obligation.

Coal- the main source of human carbon emissions wasn’t properly addressed in the Paris Agreement and thus puts the planet at the mercy of the biggest polluters: Unites States, China and India, they have no legal obligation to stop doing so, it all depends on their will.

More to that, there was no agreement on including Carbon tax in the Paris agreement which would have impacted transporters and power suppliers to change their decisions and start limiting their carbon emissions.

The Marrakech summit was a positive step towards the implementation of the Paris agreement, world leaders recommitted themselves to take action on climate change and sustainable development, what remains to be seen are the tangible actions by individual states.

A legally binding international treaty on climate change should be the ultimate target for all concerned parties in order to seriously reduce global warming and safeguard our planet.

/Frank Habineza 

President, Democratic Green Party of Rwanda

President, African Greens Federation

Honorary Doctorate in Democracy and Human Rights, Bethel collage, USA 

Don’t give EU aid money to arms companies

The EU commission has presented a 100 million EUR proposal, using for first time, the EU budget for strengthening the military in third countries. The idea is to help fund poorer countries’ military in the fields of training, mentoring and to provide infrastructural military services. This new EU policy is officially called “capacity building in support of security and development” (CBSD). The money will be channelled via the EU’s Instrument for Stability and Peace, a fund previously used only for civilian purposes.

This would be a game changer for the EU, since it would militarize the EU’s previously civilian budget, something unthinkable only a couple of years ago. In practice aid money could be given to European arms companies to develop new equipment and services, later to be sold to third countries – for example communication and radar technology. Other countries could likely follow. This could risk changing the interpretation of development aid worldwide, hollowing out development aid meant to reduce poverty and spur long-term economic development.

However, the proposal has caused a stir among the peace movement as well as with the development community, who fear that the money will be taken from aid project for poverty reduction and other long-term civilian purposes. More than 60 000 people have already signed an online petition against the CBSD initiative and member states like Sweden, Ireland and Luxembourg are questioning its legal and practical consequences.

The Greens have spearheaded the opposition against the CBSD initiative in the European Parliament and on a national level. While we underline the link between to development and security, we emphasize that one should not exclude the other – we have do to both. We cannot trade short-term security for long-term development. There is nothing wrong with capacity building in itself, but the money should not be taken out of the EU’s budget for development and given to the arms companies.

While the internationally accepted development aid criteria (DAC) allow some aid money to be used for receiving refugees etc., CBSD is different, both in terms of scale and content. The legal services from all three EU institutions have already declared that the CBSD initiative is not compatible with EU law. Diverting development funds into military capacity building could open the gates for anything to be called aid; leaving little if any money for real development and poverty reduction.

For the Greens, the long-term approach to politics is in our political DNA. It is what we were founded upon. However, we cannot fight this alone. As more people are discovering the CBSD initiative, we have a better chance of stopping it. It is common sense really: our aid money should never be going to the arms companies.

/Bodil Valero

Member of the European Parliament for the Swedish Greens (Miljöpartiet de gröna)

Work, work, work, work, or?

We live in a society of achievement and performance, where saying “yes, of course I can” is the default and having a fully booked calendar is a sign of success. You achieve more, produce more, pushing towards the top because whatever you want you can get if you work hard enough. Team that up with the pressure of having alone time, going to the gym, having time for your partner, your kids, having a beautiful home, and that annoying hash tag #norest that is trending all over Instagram.

Not surprisingly, stress-related illness is soaring across Europe. According to a European opinion poll conducted by the EU-OSHA, more than half of workers report that work-related stress is a common problem in their workplace. In the UK, a recent survey revealed that 51 per cent of full-time employees have experienced anxiety or burnout in their current job. In Sweden, the employment office’s statistics show that currently 35,000 people are on sick leave due to exhaustion or burn out. What the statistics also show is that women are more affected than men, making it a question of gender equality.

Moreover, it is also a matter of democracy when parts of the population, read women and especially young women, are stepping down from positions and commitments prematurely due to stress, as this will lead to a skewed distribution of power.

In my first post on this blog I wrote about the concept of doughnut economics and the importance of staying within our planetary boundaries to ensure sustainable social foundations and human wellbeing. Being sustainable and resilient as human beings, having the space to rest from constant demands is equally important to have a sustainable society.

And this is the point; burnout is a structural problem not an individual one. It is a reflection of our economic system shouting at us to achieve and produce more. In our professional life and in our personal ones. But remember, you are more than your productivity. Way more.

/Anna Tranberg

Works with research and innovation at the Swedish governmental agency for innovation systems

Federation of Young European Greens COP21 delegate

Recycling in Serbia: the case of pink toilet paper

On which level are recycling policies in Serbia and has there been any progress in the past few years? These questions are very nicely presented by a commercial for toilet paper. While a family is walking and shopping around a big supermarket, a girl brings a toilet paper which she likes and which is, surprisingly, pink (stereotyping of colours). In that moment the know-it-all father appears on the scene, and explains that this toilet paper is not actually pink, but painted pink by some evil men so they could conceal the fact it was made of recycled paper. After a few seconds of observation, the father remarks how recycled paper is gross and then comes to the final conclusion that white toilet paper is the only kind made of pure cellulose.

pink-tp

Photo: Jitter Buffer

This advertisement, apart from bringing up some false pieces of information, has totally anti-emancipatory character. It is true that many types of toilet paper made of recycled paper are being painted and that it is hard to make it totally white, but it is the colour itself that is the core problem here. Colours may lead to various health problems, but the paper is totally safe to use and does much less harm to the environment than a new toilet paper made of pure cellulose. It is a lie that shining white paper can be the only toilet paper made of freshly cut trees, because with the technology progress and a sufficient amount of bleach all shit can attain the whiteness of snow.

Another thing about this commercial is even more problematic. It stands clearly for anti-recycling and presents recycling as something bad and dirty. Serbia is already at the bottom of the scale of European countries when it comes to the percentage of recycled waste. Right now, only 6% of waste is being recycled, and only in certain parts of the country. Paper recycling centres in this country, which number is far from sufficient, are attacked by this commercial.

It is clear at a first glance that this commercial is just following the trodden path that the Serbian state has created in terms of recycling policies. It is also clear that the state has no long-term sustainable waste management policy and it is known that 97 % of all waste ends up in landfills (a large part of this ends up on illegal dumps). Previously, there have been attempts to create an illusion that something is being done in the field of waste management and recycling with actions such as “Let’s clean Serbia!”, which was a huge failure, and which was only done once a year trying to have an influence on the consequences of the problem. Projects for recycling islands and individual sorting of waste in households were also a failure. Locations of recycling islands were too distant and very rare, especially in the suburbs, while the individual waste sorting process was inefficient and complex for most people. Those who had been trying, in spite of all these challenges, were confounded at the end, when same truck came to collect all of the previously sorted materials.

And while in other countries waste is seen as an important resource which can be used for the production of energy and recycling of useful materials, in Serbia it is seen as an extra cost that should be avoided. The difference between western European countries and Serbia is seen in the number of employees in the recycling industry, which is greater in the former than in the latter. Here, the authorities even prevent Roma people persistently from collecting materials, even though they are the greatest recyclers and collectors of secondary raw materials. This is usually done by forced evictions from the city centre, which also means displacing them from their place of work, given that the majority of secondary raw materials is located in the city centre. Another method is the use of new underground containers, which are designed in a way that ensures that no one can reach them to pull out some useful materials. And it is superfluous to speak of the health and social welfare of these people, since they are non-existent.

And while the European Union has high demands in terms of ecology and environmental protection, which is evident in Chapter 27 of the Association Agreement, Serbia is far below these demands and the the field of ecology has got the lowest mark. In order to achieve any improvement in this field it is necessary to change the state policies towards a realization that investment in environmental protection is not an expense but rather an investment in the future and not because of the accession to the European Union but for ourselves and our health.

In some future commercial it would be good to show a father explaining to his daughter how many trees and other plants and animals were killed for the sake of getting a clean white toilet paper and whether it was worth not-recycling.

/Predrag Momcilovic

Project manager at Serbian Green Youth, research associate at Belgrade University, Serbia 

Partnerships for a sustainable development

In order to understand the Green movement in Eastern Europe one must look at it from a wider perspective. The democratic systems in the region’s countries have been taking constant turns in the last couple of decades, and their governments have been gradually, but surely reducing public liberties.  Continued use of nationalism and hatred are heating up an already turbulent political situation portrayed in corruption and non-transparent governing. Disappearing welfare states, strong patriarchal norms, corrupted political systems and media censorship are common issues affecting these countries. The accumulated effect of all of these makes engagement in Green politics either through the civil society or through a political party very difficult, and sometimes even dangerous.

Although some of the first Green parties in Europe date back to the ’70s, Green ideology in its wide understanding only began to take roots in Eastern Europe much later. Even though the term “Green” came to be used in a political sense, the “old” Green parties in reality did not stand for these values. Therefore the second generation of greens, apart from the fight with the governments and imposed traditional values, have been fighting to reclaim the term in their countries and associate it with its core values – environmental consciousness, democracy, social justice, gender equality, non-violence and  solidarity.

However, the Green agenda has been taken up by youth initiatives throughout Eastern Europe – from Georgia to Croatia, from Albania to Belarus. Some of them are growing from scratch, while some are originating from the mother parties. As a regionally established network – CDN has become (with the support of Green Forum and FYEG) the reference point for Green politics in Eastern Europe. It is supporting the structural growth of new generations of Greens, while also aiming to bridge the gap between the regional division of East and West within the Green family.

It is not a surprise that the doors to national stakeholders in Eastern Europe open much easier for an international green organisation than for the local young greens. What this means in practice is that young greens trigger an action in their countries and the Network provides support for them, by establishing connections with green politicians, MEPs, local politicians and journalists from other (Eastern) European countries, therefore working on gaining the support of the entirety of Europe for the issue. A wide range of issues are crucial for these young activists and politicians, starting from climate change and de-growth to freedom of speech and propaganda, from gender equality and online security to sustainable cities and commons. The exchange and cooperation in these fields are crucial for showing to the public, the members and other political actors, that Green politics are far more than just environmental consciousness, by putting emphasis on solidarity and support.

/Katarina Pavlovic

Project coordinator of Cooperation and Development Network of Eastern Europe

For more info about CDN please visit CDN website

Concerning the referendum in Hungary

In a referendum recently a majority of Hungarians voted against the EU decision on quota resettlement of migrants. The low participation in the referendum, though, makes the result less credible. And even if a majority of all Hungarians would have voted no, it is doubtful what difference the result would have made for the relations between Hungary and the rest of the EU. As the Swedish Minister for Justice and Migration, Morgan Johansson, put it: “If you are a member of an organisation you have to stick to the statutes of that organisation”.

But the referendum in Hungary nevertheless highlights how big a mountain we in Europe have to climb before we can say that we handle migration in a responsible and constructive manner.

In my view the debate on migration has for too long been dominated by the people who, by ideological reasons, don’t want immigrants crossing their countries borders all together. The rest of us have more or less been on the defence. Partly of tactical reasons; adopting a language similar to that of right wing extremist parties has been seen as a strategy to attract the voters of these parties.

I believe this strategy is wrong. Instead I think the right wing rhetoric should be confronted with the opposite to closed borders and separation of people. Acknowledging that there is costs and challenges associated with immigration, we nevertheless should stress the long term economic upsides for a society of more people in working age, the historic gains open societies have seen, and most of all stand up for the intrinsic values of respecting people’s diversity.

But such a strategy also needs to have an answer to the question that right wing extremists thrive on; what happens to the welfare state when immigration numbers reaches hundreds of thousands per year?

One part, and the most important part, of that answer is how fast the newcomers can be involved in the work force. I don’t believe in lowering wages as an incentive for employers to employ low skilled workers as a solution. That only widens the income gap. But a way forward could be reforms that create more opportunities for jobs that doesn’t require high skills. Looking from a Swedish perspective, an example of that is the governments’ proposal to lower tax rates on repairs. In Sweden a more efficient and rapid validation of the skills people bring with them would also benefit both them and the labour market.

Another part is the more intangible discussion about embracing commonly shared values. In this, right wing extremists focus on assimilation; people who come here must wholeheartedly embrace the lifestyle and values of the majority society. For us greens this shouldn’t be an acceptable approach. Instead we should look for integration; welcome the newcomers with an open mind and curiosity about the culture, ideas and traditions they bring. On the other hand, the majority society must also be able to demand a willingness of all people to take part of the society and adapt to values broadly shared within it.

It is impossible to suggest in detail how this should be enacted. Instead integration must be pursued through an ever ongoing public debate, where on the one hand you will have the written law that of course applies equally to everyone, but on the other you have issues like the veil; as long as it is worn by a woman of free will it should not be anyone’s concern how she dresses. Even if it may seem odd in the eyes of the majority society.

Today it seems to me that the assimilation agenda is becoming more and more mainstream within media and political parties. We greens should resist this and instead persist in defending open, diverse societies and the two-way directed integration process as the method of keeping these societies together.

/Lars-Olof Karlsson

Chairperson Green Forum

Guatemala y su vulnerabilidad ante el cambio climatico – Guatemala’s vulnerability to climate change

(eng translation below)

El pasado mes de agosto 2016 se celebró en Guatemala el Encuentro sobre Agricultura Orgánica y adaptación al Cambio Climático. En dicho encuentro hubo varias disertaciones sobre los temas, destacando desde el interés nacional, el tema de la vulnerabilidad ante el Cambio Climático que amenaza al país, expuesto por Roberto Cáceres del Centro Mesoamericano de Estudios sobre Tecnología Apropiada –CEMAT-. El conferencista expuso que la vulnerabilidad configura la débil e insuficiente capacidad de adaptación y resiliencia, condicionada por factores sociales (pobreza de más del 50% de la población, alta desnutrición), económicos (baja carga presupuestaria, insuficiente crecimiento económico e inversión), físicos (zona de riesgo sísmico e hidrometeorológico), ambientales (creciente contaminación y deforestación) e institucionales (fallas recurrentes de las instituciones y crecimiento de corrupción y la cooptación).

Según, Global Climate Risk Index (2014), Guatemala ocupa la posición 9 en el mundo en vulnerabilidad, ya que cumple con todas la condiciones que la predisponen y exponen al impacto negativo de un fenómeno físico destructor,  con baja capacidad para reponerse después de un desastre. Tal como lo comprueban los últimos diez años de eventos hidrometeorológicos extremos, que dejaron daños y perdidas económicas e impactos sociales y ambientales, principalmente en las comunidades rurales y que a nivel de país significaron pérdida del 3% del PIB.

El Cambio Climático ha venido a potenciar las vulnerabilidades del país, con ubicación geográfica de alto riesgo hidrometeorológico, con secuelas de sequias, inundaciones, huracanes con su consiguiente degradación del suelo, erosión, deslaves, destrucción de biodiversidad, falta de disponibilidad alimentaria que genera  graves impactos en la alimentación y nutrición, produciendo el aumento de la pobreza con las consecuencias de desnutrición, baja escolaridad, disolución familiar y del tejido social. También toca destacar que la Vulnerabilidad  política-institucional es un factor que viene a afectar y a profundizar el problema, debido a los actos de corrupción que han caracterizado, con el desmantelamiento del Estado, así como la baja capacidad de respuesta, una institucionalidad crecientemente débil y una vulnerabilidad jurídica frente a amenazas delictivas.

La conclusión del evento indica que el calentamiento global debido a los GEI no es el único problema del Cambio Climatico que enfrenta Guatemala, también están las condiciones locales como el uso extractivista y de pérdida del suelo y la deforestación, que a su alta tasa actual pueden conducir a condiciones más secas y cálidas para el país, lo que dificulta nuestra condiciones de adaptabilidad.

 

GUATEMALA’S VULNERABILITY TO CLIMATE CHANGE 

In august a meeting on organic farming and adaptation to climate change was held in Guatemala. In this meeting there were several discussions held on the topics, departing from a national interest, such as the vulnerability to climate change, by Roberto Cáceres from Central American Center of Studies on Appropriate Technology – CEMAT. The lecturer let us know that the vulnerability of Guatemala gives it a weak and insufficient capacity for adaptation and resilience to climate changes. This vulnerability is determined by social factors (poverty among more than 50 % of the population and malnutrition), economic factors (low budgets, insufficient economic growth and investments), physical factors (Guatemala is in an area of seismic risk), environmental (increasing contamination and deforestation) and institutional (failures of institutions and growth of corruption and cooptation).

According to Global Climate Risk Index (2014), Guatemala holds 9th position in the world in vulnerability, because it meets all the conditions that predispose and exposes it to the negative impact of natural disasters, with low capacity to recover after such a disaster. The last ten years of extreme weather, has left severe damage as well as economic, social and environmental losses, mainly in rural communities and country level, and meant a loss of 3% of the GDP.

The climate change has come to promote the vulnerabilities of the country, at a geographical setting with high hydrometeorological risk, with aftermaths of droughts, floods, hurricanes which bring consequences such as soil degradation, erosions, destruction of biodiversity, endangered food security that generates serious impacts in nutrition. This, in turn leads to an increasing poverty with the consequences of malnourishment, low education and a dissolution of family and the societal fabric. Mr Cáceres of CEMAT also emphasizes that that the political and institutional vulnerability are factors that affect and deepen the problem of lack of possibilities for resilience and adaptation. These are a reality due to acts of corruption, a dismantling of the state and a low responsiveness together with increasingly weak institutions and legal vulnerability to criminal threats.

The conclusion of the event indicates that the global warming due to green house gas emissions is not the only problem of climate change that Guatemala faces. There are also the local conditions that adds to the vulnerability such as the extraction of natural resources and the deforestation and loss of soil, which can lead to drier and warmer conditions for the country, which makes it even more difficult for Guatemala to adapt to the changes lying ahead.

/Matilde Baján

Project coordinator at CEMAT; Centro Mesoamericano de Estudios sobre Tecnología Apropiada 

 

Green Forum at the heart of the African Greens Success Story

It was during the Second Global Greens Congress in April-May 2008 which took place in Sao Paulo-Brazil, that Green Forum Sweden recommitted itself in support the African Greens Network, as it was called then. Previous efforts in West Africa and East Africa had not been successful and this was a serious cause for concern, since without the continent of Africa, there would not be a Global Greens Movement.

After the Global Greens Congress in Brazil, Rwanda Green Society submitted a project proposal to Green Forum, which would help to unite all Greens in different parts of Africa, and as well establish a Green political federation, comprising of political parties and political movements.

The first activities were held in Benin, Morocco and Tunisia, it was later decided to hold an African Greens Movement, preparatory meeting in Benin, which was attended by 13 countries from East, South, North, Central and Western Africa. This prep meeting took place in June 2009, it was agreed that the founding congress for establishing the African Greens Federation would be held in Kampala, Uganda in April 2010.

Indeed, in April 2010, Green Forum supported this founding congress and 23 countries were present and a political federation was officially established and leadership elected. The African Greens Charter was also adopted. This Congress was also attended by the Secretary General of the European Greens Federation and a representative of Green Forum. The diversity of different cultures, languages and national political dynamics has been a source of our strength.

There has been tremendous growth and success after the official establishment, the Federation officially got registered as an international political Association in June 2012 in Burkina Faso, West Africa and a continental secretariat was established and launched immediately after. The federation was also able to host the Third Global Greens Congress in Dakar, Senegal in April 2012. This was not an easy task but when people are united they can really achieve a lot.

The federation went into its second growth phase and established five regional federations, which are:

  • the Southern Africa Greens Federation bringing together Madagascar, Mauritius, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Angola.
  • the North African Greens Federation, bringing together, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Libya and South Sudan
  • the East African Greens Federation, bringing together, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Burundi
  • the Central African Greens Federation, bringing together, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central Africa Republic, Gabon and the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville)
  • and the West African Greens Federation, bringing together, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Guinea Conakry.

The Africa Green Federation has 29 member countries, and several member parties are participating in national elections, some have won seats in parliaments and local governments. Others have been appointed ministers. The green vision is getting stronger. Green Forum has played a key role in achieving this success story.

The Federation has now entered its third growth stage, which is strengthening this regional networks and make them able to support member countries.  It has also got new partners, the Green Party of England and Wales/West Minister Foundation for Democracy and the Belgian Green Party (Groen), whom have committed to supporting both East Africa and West Africa respectively.

The journey is still long, but we are very proud of what we achieved and how far we have come from. All this could not have been achieved without the tremendous support of Green Forum Sweden and several partners. We hope more will be achieved in the coming years as we consolidate the regional federations and move to the fourth growth stage.  We are putting more focus now on participation and winning general elections and have seats in Local Government structures, national Governments and national Parliaments.

/Frank Habineza 

President, Democratic Green Party of Rwanda

President African Greens Federation

Honorary Doctorate in Democracy and Human Rights, Bethel collage, USA