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How effective is the Climate Justice Movement in sub-Saharan Africa?

Aliyu, Z. O. (2022) How effective is the Climate Justice Movement in sub-Saharan Africa? PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00108415


Climate change (CC) remains one of the most pressing challenges globally and particularly for sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) which lies in the frontline of the catastrophic impacts of CC. Yet, global progress towards urgent, ambitious, and equitable climate action (CA) remains slow. And while this holds devastating consequences for the people of SSA, and thus places the burden of demanding urgent and just climate action on them, it is also the case that only very limited research has been conducted until now on the Climate Justice movement (CJM) in SSA. Using the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) as a case study and drawing on 42 key informant interviews and over 150 hours of participant observation carried out over 16 months (August 2018 to December, 2019) at six different study sites, this thesis investigates the effectiveness of the CJM in SSA in their demand for climate justice (CJ). Specifically, it analyses 1) the Movement’s effectiveness in three domains: (a) Institutional and Governance strengthening, (b) Public awareness, engagement and mobilisation and (c) Policy influence; and 2) the factors or structural conditions) that inhibit their effectiveness. Building on the extant studies and literatures on CJ, social movements and organisational effectiveness, this thesis develops an analytical framework that underpins the analysis and understanding of the CJM’s effectiveness. It argues that PACJA is moderately effective in its progress towards achieving its CJ objectives in the three categories that were analysed. It identifies four overlapping factors that currently limit the effectiveness of the Movement: 1) managing complex institutional dynamics, 2) underdeveloped mechanisms, strategies and tactics, 3) limited technical, financial, and political resources, and 4) a complex external socio-political environment. Thus, to be effective, the CJM must (i) harmonise and align their CJ framings and narratives in ways that connect and inspire the public for increased participation in the CC governance processes at different levels, (ii) identify and solidify a coherent set of strategies and tactics, (iii) explore more localised fundraising opportunities and, (iv) build enabling socio-political conditions that will support mass mobilisation for urgent climate actions in SSA.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Ainslie, A. and Menga, F.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Agriculture, Policy & Development
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
ID Code:108415
Date on Title Page:September 2021


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