The primary event of the day was a mass march of international and national community, labour, women, youth, academic, religious and environmental organisations and activists. While the negotiations continued inside the conference venue, these groups took to the streets in an effort to demonstrate civil society’s common determination to tackle climate change.
The Global Day of Action is a traditional and important event at UNFCCC COP meetings; however, the march through Durban was unique, in that it enabled activists from across sub-Saharan Africa the opportunity to show that addressing climate change is as important for the people of Africa as for those of the North.
Some of the participants in the march included The Caravan of Hope, which started in Burundi and gained momentum as it travelled to Durban, as well as the We Have Faith group, that started in Kenya and brought young people to the conference. The march also included participants from the climate train, which made its way across South Africa in the days running up to COP17. These groups marched alongside national and international climate organisations, with all participants uniting to demand action from governments around the world.
The march culminated in the handing over of memoranda of understanding to the UNFCCC COP17 president and the UNFCCC Executive Secretary.