The Root Of The Science Podcast

EP 127: Innocent Deckocks, Women, Youth, and the Pursuit of Climate Justice

November 07, 2023 Anne Chisa Season 4 Episode 127
The Root Of The Science Podcast
EP 127: Innocent Deckocks, Women, Youth, and the Pursuit of Climate Justice
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wondered about the transformative role women and youth can play in combating climate change? Listen to this compelling conversation with Innocent Deckocks from Kenya, founder of Eco-Sanctify Consultants Limited and research associate at ECAS Institute. We delve deep into climate governance and justice, youth and women participation in climate change and their essential part in shaping important decisions.

Twitter: @InnoDeckocks
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Anne Chisa:

The Root of the Science podcast with your girl, Anne with an E. Hello everyone, and welcome back to another episode of the Root of the Science podcast with your girl, Anne with an E. If you are new here, welcome, welcome, welcome. It's always such a pleasure to have new guests on the show For the returning fans. Thank you so much for tuning in once again. Usual reminder that you can follow this podcast on all social media platforms. You can follow on Instagram, tiktok and Twitter at Route of the Science pod, or you can follow on Facebook and LinkedIn YouTube as well, using the name of the Route of the Science podcast. Make sure that you also subscribe wherever you listen to a podcast so that you're notified that a new episode is live.

Anne Chisa:

Speaking of which, let's get into today's episode. In today's episode, I'm so happy to host Innocent Decox, a research associate at ECAS Institute and the founder of Eco-Centify Consultants Limited, based in Kenya. During our conversation with Innocent, we spoke on the essential role of women in the climate change conversation and the imperative concept of climate justice. We also chatted about the key declarations that were said during the Africa climate summit that happened in Nairobi in September and also the anticipation around the upcoming COP28 conference that's happening in Dubai later on this month of November, we chatted about all of this and, of course, so much more. Let's go. Hello Innocent, welcome to the show.

Innocent Deckocks:

Thank you, ann. I'm happy to be here today and to be able to share my insights on the topics at hand.

Anne Chisa:

Perfect, it's so lovely to get you onto the show. Just briefly, would you just kindly introduce yourself to our audience?

Innocent Deckocks:

Thank you. My name is Innocent Decox. I'm an environmental planner by profession. I currently work at ECAS Institute as a research associate and junior consultant. I'm also a founder at a consultancy company called Eco-Centify Consultants Limited in Kenya. Thank you. Basically, what we do is that we offer management, environmental management services to different clients within the country and even across the region.

Anne Chisa:

Okay, great. Thanks so much, Innocent, for that introduction, and I'm going to just get straight into it. You've already briefly mentioned to us what you do in terms of your job, etc. So I want to ask you, justin, in terms of an overview, what role have you actively played in the climate change space in terms of youth and women inclusion, as well as climate innovation and climate justice?

Innocent Deckocks:

Thank you, I think that is quite a part one, but just to give my experiences that I graduated from university way back in 2017 and I was immediately thrust into the world of climate governance and justice in my country. My first engagement was with an organization called Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, which had under it a platform called the Kenya platform for climate governance. Now, within this platform, we had different thematic groups. We had the adaptation thematic group, the mitigation thematic group, the climate finance thematic group and others. But for me, I was part of the climate finance thematic working group as a volunteer secretary and here we were just trying to build the capacity of civil society organizations on how best they can be able to package proposals and how best they can be able to develop programs that are banned keyboard and can easily be funded by the different financiers outside there.

Innocent Deckocks:

The civil society organizations were cutting across youth groups and women groups Also, because our focus was on the most vulnerable groups and the orada being affected by the crisis and, as you know, is that women and youth are actually the two groups that are mostly affected by the negative impacts of climate change, if not the persons with disabilities group. So our focus was on that and throughout the years, my focus has been on engaging these two target groups and just helping them to build their technical expertise and also just improving the engagement on matters climate governance and justice, so that they find themselves in these rooms and they are also able to play a part in making the decisions that matter to them as far as climate governance and justice is concerned.

Anne Chisa:

Thank you so much for that Innocent, for that overview, you know, for somebody who's really starting to understand the conversations around climate change, I will be honest that it was quite intriguing for me to understand the gender role that climate change actually has, and particularly, like you said, for women and, and even more so, with children. So for somebody who is also with us, is also like me, who who does not understand that, who probably only thinks climate changes, rising temperatures, drought, etc. So what role do these women who you've been actively engaging with actually play in addressing climate change in Africa?

Innocent Deckocks:

Thank you for that, and I think just to mention is that you've mentioned it to that and not only women, but also children, because you find, most of the times women are usually the ones most in touch with the children and therefore it means that when they're being affected, also children are being affected. But back to your question is that a lot of women are the ones that are in direct contact with the environment. Defined across, like, for instance, across sub Saharan Africa, actually 90% of energy sources come from fuel or fossil fuels, that is, for cooking, and you find that in most of these households, the ones that are actually interacting, the search as energy sources, are actually women. So it might be going out to the, to the forest to get fired, it might be being the ones that are tasked to get fired and so on, and you find that with that, they have, they have, they have, for instance, under that particular space, they have a clear view of what is really happening and also realize that in areas where water is scarce like in my country we have the northern area as predominantly is an arid and semi arid area, and you find that in going long distances to see for water and so on for households, you find that women are the other ones that are actually involved in all this. Just to pass, my point is that since they are the ones that are interacting a lot with this, then it makes them the best bet to be able to even embrace solutions that are being pushed Our source, coming from a point of just trying to give them the understanding that, okay, that this is the problem, but we have this financial, so able to get you money to be able to develop the solutions that matter for you. But then there's a there's the bridge where you expected to develop proposals and the proposals to be bankable, and then we can be able to leverage on different opportunities so that your proposals can be funded and you can be able to get the finances needed to develop solutions. So that is where we are actually coming.

Innocent Deckocks:

But on the side, just to go back also on your question, is that, in terms of technologies, there are a lot of technologies that have come up for youth, or rather propagated by youth and also women.

Innocent Deckocks:

I would like to take the opportunity to mention one.

Innocent Deckocks:

Yeah, it's called the make a friendly steam cooking system.

Innocent Deckocks:

Now, this one is a system we actually develop in collaboration with a senior colleague who is an engineer and the focus of it is just to be able to reduce the over dependence on fuel by large institutions such as schools, prisons, hospitals and so on.

Innocent Deckocks:

What we do with the system is that the system has been tailored in a way that it uses steam as an energy source as opposed to the direct use of fuel, and in this we realize that in a number of cases the time that is needed to be able to prepare food for large numbers is reduced and also the energy is optimized for the same number of people in comparison to the different energy sources. Because, if I'm like, for instance, across the continent, most large institutions still use a fuel load to be able to prepare at this means, and we see this system as an alternative for these institutions, just to be able to enable them optimize their energy use and also read the environment of the field that we are seeing, because with us focusing only on fuel load, then we are actually destroying our environment, deforestation practices and so on.

Anne Chisa:

That's quite interesting. I have a follow-up question regarding that. So, particularly with these types of innovations that are being developed, I'd like to know in your experience so far, has the inclusion of having the woman, for example, who are the ones who are directly impacted, led to better I want to say climate innovations and policies? Do you think?

Innocent Deckocks:

Yeah, I think what I can say is that the space has been changing. Actually, the narrative is that we are switching from just representation to actual participation. So this means that you find that in these forums that actually, for instance, are set to be able to develop policies that influence different climate actions, you find that this, it has changed from just that representation to them actually being part of developing the policies, in putting into the documents, validating the documents and so on.

Innocent Deckocks:

And I think that is quite important because back then, I think around the time I was entering into the space it was just me. Okay, it will be reported that we had, for instance, five women as part of the validation of the process, but then in the actual document, if you are to get one woman, for instance, from that group to be able to give you an update, then you'll realize that they were not actually involved in the process. So I think that is quite a win in this climate governance space, in that now youth, women and persons with disabilities are actually at the table and they are constructively engaging in this matters.

Anne Chisa:

Fantastic, and I think that's exactly what we need in order for us to really find solutions, to have this collaboration with everybody at the table. So in September, there was the African climate summit. That actually happened in Kenya, which is where you're from. I'm assuming you attended.

Innocent Deckocks:

Yeah, I did attend Of course.

Anne Chisa:

So for you, what are some of the key takeaways in terms of some of the declarations that were made that you felt like you know what this is so important for us going forward?

Innocent Deckocks:

I think I can be able to pick three from the Nairobi declaration. I think that spoke a lot to the general cry of the continent and I think the first, which has been mentioned quite a lot, has been the honoring of commitments, like under the declaration, the call was that we need developed countries to honor the 100 billion dollar annual commitment that was made in Denmark in 2009. And okay, we are speaking to getting, or rather setting up, other funds, but then where does it leave the other funds that developed countries had committed to? And that is a call that I think was coming out clearly from the summit that these developed countries need to honor the 100 billion dollar annual commitment that had been made back then. The second one, I think that also came out clearly was on that the globe or other and the African continent role in it was to ensure that we accelerate efforts to reduce our emissions, as I have been committed in the Paris agreement. You know that we are working towards a global average of two degrees are Celsius and also ensuring that we do not go above 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and that is quite a task, and I think the plus is that most countries have now been able to make those commitments through their nationally determined contributions, like, for instance, in my country. We have a target of 32% reduction in our emissions by 2030. And I think that is a step also in the right direction for countries. But also something that was coming out clearly was that the continent needs to embrace a low carbon pathway and I think that one can only come if you are committed to reduce our emissions and, coupled with that, embrace clean energy sources. Just taking the case also of my countries that we have around at the moment, we have around 85% to 90% clean energy mix and I think that is quite an example for the continent. I know for South Africa, that is something you're also working around and it's just this dynamics that we need to sit at the table and try and unpack how best we can move towards this low carbon pathway for the continent as a whole.

Innocent Deckocks:

Something also that came out clearly was on the operationalization of the laws and damage fund, and this came out in Shamilshik last year. That is, cop 27. And somebody was just mentioning that some of these funds we go ahead and set them, but then the theory on the cake, so to speak, is when now the finances are available and you agree that the laws and damage fund is one that I think is very relevant for the continent. But just recently a lot of damage was done, lives were lost in Mozambique during the cyclones, and I think that is actually the impetus that maybe was needed to be able to push the setting up of this L&D fund, and we're hoping that, even going through to the to commentating Dubai, that we'll actually have commitments and we'll have funds available to be able to support this.

Innocent Deckocks:

And just to finalize on the same is that there is a narrative that has been always in quarters that there is a focus by developed countries on mitigation goals as opposed to the adaptation goals, which are our priority for the continent, and under the declaration there was a call for setting up the global adaptation goal and also just telling it to the priorities of the African continent and also developing the relevant indicators and targets, because you agree with me that for mitigation, we have quite clear indicators and targets on interventions that are being proposed, but on adaptation, which is our priority through building resilience, is still lagging behind, not only in terms of funding but also in terms of the structures that are needed to be able to facilitate that.

Anne Chisa:

No, that's quite interesting and you've mentioned quite a lot Innocent. It seems like there's a lot of work that still needs to be done and I think, hopefully, yeah, hopefully conversations like this, like the one also that you mentioned COP28, that's also coming up end of this month right.

Anne Chisa:

And Dubai. More conversations are needed and in amongst that, you mentioned these types of issues that were spoken about in COP28. For someone who doesn't really understand where they're like, okay, we know COP28 is something that you always hear, but the African Climate Summit is this this was only Africa's focus, and then COP28 would be the global focus.

Innocent Deckocks:

Yeah, totally, you got it right the Africa's. Actually, it was the first summit on the continent being held. It was held in Kenya. Yeah, the previous one was the Africa Climate Week, which was held in Gabon.

Innocent Deckocks:

So basically in this is that countries across the West, the East and the Southern region come together and manage to coalesce on the different interventions that are needed in this climate change space and coming up with informed positions which are then ascended to the COP28. And that's why you are finding, even at the beginning, that there was a lot of diplomas in terms of getting the buying of the different nations to be able to be part of the process, so that we have, or rather we are speaking with, we are speaking one voice heading into COP28. Cop28 is now at the global level, where all our nations that are part of the sorry United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change come together and from each region, they are able to come up with their positions, which are then presented and negotiations go rather conducted. And, yeah, they also come again with positions which are then presented to all the states. And, yeah, from these positions, then each country can then now be able to make the adjustments of their NDCs and align to what is now required from that global level.

Anne Chisa:

Oh, fantastic. That makes so much sense and I think it clears up a lot of clarity. So you mentioned that. Okay, after the climate summit in Nairobi, we are as Africa. We are now going to COP28 with these as one voice rather. So I don't know if this is a tough question or not, but what type of global support do you think Africa needs for us to have for our climate efforts? And even with answering that, instead of only focusing on support, I think, how do we contribute as Africa as well, because we have a lot of wealth and knowledge here as well? So, yeah, would you be able to answer that question for me?

Innocent Deckocks:

Yeah, thank you, anne, for that question Just coming. I leverage a lot on the abundance that we have as the continent, even though it appears that we're always looking to the west, rather outside. But we really have a huge resource, especially in the form of young people, and just the innovativeness, the energy that young people have can really be a great asset for the continent. You find that most of the times when you mention support, we tend to look outside, but then if you look at what we have within, then we really have a lot to be able to not only come up with this innovative solutions, but also ensure that we push them and ensure that they're able to birth dividends for the continent.

Innocent Deckocks:

Just taking into account, for instance, a lot of carbon pathway for the continent is that we have a huge resource in the form of the Congo basin, which is a huge carbon sink not only in the continent but also globally, and I think it calls on us to be able to get lessons from how these carbon sinks have been managed or mismanaged across the globe.

Innocent Deckocks:

For instance, during COVID, there are a lot of bushfires or forest fires across the Amazon.

Innocent Deckocks:

A lot of indigenous peoples and communities were evicted, some were maimed, some were killed, and, you see, these people are the ones that really understand what is really happening.

Innocent Deckocks:

They are best placed to be able to inform solutions that really matter for the environment, and I'm thinking that just also taking into account the issue of carbon markets and carbon finance that was coming up strongly under the declarations and under the summit.

Innocent Deckocks:

This is a resource that Africa can really be able to leverage on, but then our focus should not only be on the resources that probably may gather from that from the same, but, most importantly, how are we able to improve the livelihoods of the communities therein and also across the continent? Because now it's a huge resource that can not only support those who are within, but also we can also be able to develop partnerships and collaborate with other stakeholders across nations to ensure that the benefits that come from this can be able to be utilized across the continent. Because now you find a lot of there's a lot of the guys are not actually clear on how carbon, these carbon market schemes, will be able to work, and the main fears that the communities will be there wants to lose, as it has always been, and I think having it being pronounced strongly at the Africa summit should be a direction that these communities will not be overlooked in this whole process. Anne.

Anne Chisa:

Thank you so much for those insights, innocent, and yeah, I liked what you said, that as Africa, we can contribute and we have so much to contribute and even just having this conversation, I know I've learned a lot and I'm sure many people have learned a lot, and, although we do have a long way to go and we are honest about that but I think the commitment from people like yourself and the organization that you're part of is so important in us finding solutions, effective solutions, and thank you so much for coming on and just chatting with me about the work that you do. I really, really do appreciate it.

Innocent Deckocks:

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Anne Chisa:

And are you attending COP28?

Innocent Deckocks:

I'm hoping I'll be able to attend rather optimistic. It's essentially a great opportunity to be able to not only share experiences but also tap into opportunities at that level. You never know. They say you always need to have that global outlook, but then you work locally. So, yeah, I'm really optimistic. I'll be there. How about you?

Anne Chisa:

No, I will not, but I'll be definitely keeping a keen eye on what comes out and, yeah, I like what you say, that we definitely work in our local context, but it's very important to understand what's happening at the global level and I'll be. I'll begin to see. I'm optimistic for you, so I can't wait to see the pictures when you attend and I hope you have a really great time. It's in Dubai.

Innocent Deckocks:

Yeah, yeah.

Anne Chisa:

Who wouldn't want to go to Dubai?

Innocent Deckocks:

Yeah, yeah.

Anne Chisa:

No, innocent. Yeah, thank you so much. Thank you so much for that, for coming on. Like I said, and I really admire the work that you do and your passion. It's really important and your knowledge is something that's really to be commented. It was such an insightful conversation.

Innocent Deckocks:

Thank you. Thank you very much, anne, for having me, and I wish you the best in your engagements. Thank you.

Anne Chisa:

Thank you so much for listening to another episode of the Reach of the Suns podcast that caused with your girl and with an E. Until next time, goodbye.

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