11 March 2018
For 48 hours the leafy National Park in Bamako was more green than normal. Several hundred people dressed in the color of hope attended the seventh edition of the National Environmental Forum (FENA)
“We do no longer harvest what we sow in our fields”.
The words of Dr. Ibrahim Togola, President of FENA, sounds a somber warning against the great challenge the world is facing: climate change.
In Mali this has resulted in a tangible drop in agricultural production, said Dr. Togola, during the opening session of the 7th FENA (National Environmental Forum) in the National Park in Bamako.
He proposed a concerted effort by all Malians to tackle the problem: “Local communities and civil society must sit down and talk with responsible politicians to discuss the challenges we face”.
The Minister for Environment, Mrs Keïta Aida Mbo took up the invitation and said in her speech that the multi-stakeholder partnership that is behind FENA “is a manifestation of the same vision and common interest that we all have for the preservation of the environment and the fight against the harmful effects of climate change”.
After the opening session the minister was guided through the forum’s colorful exhibition of environmentally conscious products like women’s cooperatives shea butters, jams and sirops, solar-powered lamps and garbage containers made from old car tires.
She was visibly impressed by several of the 25 stalls exhibiting innovative green ideas, closely followed by journalists from over 10 Malian radio stations, 4 newspapers and ORTM.
(See the clip from ORTM here: http://news.abamako.com/v/59675.html (in French))
Green, green days
A big handful of speakers, panelists, exhibitors and resource persons participated in this 7th edition of the FENA, that focused on themes like: Climate change, energy transition, migration in the context of the climatic challenges in the Sahel.
The event proceeded to the backdrop of kora music playing in the debate venues and an atmosphere of peace, friendliness and passionate engagement.
The joy of reunion was also great among the several hundred participants from all over Mali. They strolled the neat paths of the lush National Park in green boubous, dresses and shirts on their way to and from the two green decorated venues where the panels were held. The color green was omnipresent for the two days and enhanced the beauty of the National Park.
During the panel sessions speakers, panelists and the audience exchanged engaged views. The desire to ask questions and to comment on the topics on the table was so intense that many sessions were stretched beyond the originally planned time limit.
The idea behind this large event is two-sided: to exchange ideas and views and to sensitize one another and not the least the political level on the serious challenge that climate change poses in different regions of Mali.
A documentary was shown to the audience concerning the pact that several Malian politicians and candidates for the presidential elections in July have signed. The aim of the pact is to enhance natural resources and promote a healthy environment for sustainable development in Mali.
Declaration from the Forum
The panels and the discussions were synthesized in a final declaration from the forum that stated:
“We recognize how far FENA has come since it was put in place in 2006 and the efforts of all stakeholders.
We pledge to make FENA a permanent advocacy tool for funding opportunities in the fight against climate change, enhancing natural resource management and preventing conflicts and migration.
We ask the Ministry of Environment, Sanitation and Sustainable Development to assist us in our efforts to improve our capacity to perceive, research and fund our fight against climate change, “
FENA is an initiative of the Mali-Folkecenter Nyetaa in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Sanitation and Sustainable Development and RESO Climat Mali, that consists of some 130 NGOs and associations, most of whom took part in the forum.
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