COP28: Fostering awareness and research on climate extremes and the marginalised in Africa


The PALM-TREES project, a pioneering initiative focused on sustainable development and climate extremes in sub-Saharan Africa, took center stage at a side event during COP28 in Dubai. Organised on December 11 by the African Network of Women in Sustainable Development (REFADD), in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the event aimed to raise awareness about the project’s objectives and its unwavering commitment to addressing pressing environmental challenges in the region.

Distinguished speakers of the PALM-TREES project leading team from various disciplines and backgrounds formed a prominent panel, each providing valuable insights and expertise on different facets of the project.

Babatunde Abiodun, Principal Investigator of the PALM-TREES Project and an Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town, delivered a comprehensive introduction to the project. He shed light on its objectives and key activities, effectively highlighting its significance in the realm of sustainable development and climate change.

Ellen Dyer, a Senior Research Associate at the University of Oxford and Principal Investigator of the PALM-TREEs Project, presented her impactful work on impact research within the PALM-TREES project. Her presentation centered on the comprehensive assessment of the project’s environmental and social impact, unveiling crucial findings that contribute to informed decision-making.

Wilfried Pokam, also Principal Investigator of the PALM-TREES Project and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Yaounde I, eloquently delved into the political landscape surrounding the project in Central Africa. His insightful talk shed light on the challenges and opportunities associated with policy development and implementation, emphasizing the need for effective governance.

Monique Yigbedek, the PALM-TREES Gender Focal Point, National and Regional Science Policy Dialogue Lead, and Regional Director of REFADD, took the stage to discuss the project’s profound connection with marginalized communities in Central Africa. She highlighted the project’s inclusive approach, emphasizing the active involvement of local communities in conservation activities and the empowerment of women and girls.

Madame Blandine N. Mosombo, a distinguished Professor at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Kinshasa, skillfully moderated the event. Her expertise in understanding the impact of human activities on the natural and social environment ensured a thought-provoking and engaging discussion.

The PALM-TREES side event at COP28 in Dubai served as an invaluable platform to showcase the project’s objectives, activities, and noteworthy achievements, while highlighting its multidimensional nature and immense potential to address environmental challenges and promote sustainable development in Africa. The event gathered significant attention, with approximately twenty participants representing various institutions attending on-site, and a considerable number of attendees joining online through the live broadcast on the IUCN website. The active participation and engagement of the diverse audience underscored the significance of collaborative efforts in addressing pressing climate issues in the region, enriching discussions, and fostering meaningful exchanges of ideas.