Imagining Just Environmental and Climate Futures in Africa May 3-4, 2024, Cornell University

On May 3-4, 2024, the Institute for African Development, in collaboration with the Polson Institute for Global Development and the Einaudi Center for International Studies, Cornell University, will host a symposium on Imagining Just Environmental and Climate Futures in Africa.

**Call for abstracts: due March 1, 2024. Full Paper Drafts due April 19, 2024. The symposium will be a hybrid event and we intend to have a combination of keynote speakers and paper discussion sessions on the theme of climate justice and related topics. Attendance either virtually or in-person at the symposium is welcome and without fee, though presentation and participation in the symposium is contingent upon submission of a full draft of a paper.

  • Click here to submit abstracts to give a presentation at the symposium.

For those whose abstracts are accepted, we request full paper drafts (8,000-10,000 words) by April 19. Papers will receive feedback from other participants, including graduate students, postdocs, and faculty and an invited discussant. We intend for this symposium to lead to the publication of an edited book or special issue of a journal.

Conference abstract: Recent assessments of climate change impacts in Sub-Saharan Africa indicate that the continent is already experiencing impacts from rising temperatures, including water shortages, reduced food production, loss of lives and biodiversity loss. There are an increased number of extreme events, from drought, floods and tropical storms, and these events will worsen if global greenhouse gases are not significantly reduced. At the same time, Africa is one of the lowest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, and many countries struggle to manage with the cost of climate change adaptation, while also paying high levels of debt. Alongside these climate challenges are ongoing extractive industries looking to Africa as a new or ongoing source of resources – including mining precious minerals to support renewable alternatives to fossil fuels. Despite this bleak picture, alternative models that are transformative and reparative are emerging as ways to imagine just climate futures in Africa. These alternatives include attention to multiple types of social inequities and building development strategies through dialogue and careful attention to power dynamics. Adaptation approaches that support decent livelihoods alongside biodiversity, ecosystems and indigenous knowledge are being tested and expanded. Recognition of power inequities at multiple scales and reparation of these inequities is part of such approaches.

Rachel Bezner Kerr, Director, Institute for African Development and Professor, Global Development
For more information or questions, please contact Emily Baker -
Organized by the Institute for African Development, with support from