Hamira Kobusingye, climate activist from Uganda, was awarded the 18th Bremen Solidarity Prize. | Photo: Senate Press Office

10/10/2023 | Hamira Kobusingye, climate activist from Uganda, was awarded the 18th Bremen Solidarity Prize on October 9, 2023. Mayor Dr. Andreas Bovenschulte presented her with the award at a festive reception in the Upper Town Hall. In his speech, he addressed personal words to the young laureate: "You are receiving this award both for your extraordinary personal commitment to global climate justice and as a representative of the many young people of your generation in Africa, and especially in your home country Uganda, who are committed to a better future through their fight against climate change. May your example inspire many more to stand up for global climate justice and work together to create a better future for all."

The laudation was held by Prof. Dr. Raimund Bleischwitz, scientific director of the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) and professor for Global Sustainable Resources at the University of Bremen. Hamira Kobusingye was nominated by the BUND Youth. In addition to the prize money of 10,000 euros, a sculpture by the Bremen artist Bernd Altenstein was awarded.

In her acceptance speech, Hamira Kobusingye emphasized, "The path to a climate-just future requires unity, cooperation and a shared understanding that the impacts of climate change affect everyone. To ensure that the principles of equity, solidarity, and sincere cooperation form the basis of our efforts to combat climate change, we must bridge the gap between words and actions. Only then can we truly achieve a sustainable future for all."

In his laudatory speech, Prof. Dr. Bleischwitz emphasized: "Today we are honouring a person who has made climate justice her subject. I am very pleased that the members of the Board of Trustees have chosen you, dear Hamira Kobusingye, as the laureate of the 18th Bremen Solidarity Award. You are a voice of courage, commitment and unmistakable energy of young Africa for climate protection. You impressively demonstrate the climate commitment of youth - in your country and with many other international voices."

The Bremen Senate followed the proposal of the Board of Trustees of the Bremen Solidarity Award by awarding Kobusingye. The justification states, among other things: "Hamira Kobusingye manages to link local engagement against an oil pipeline and for awareness especially for women-specific effects of climate change with networking of young climate activists in African countries and appearances at international events. The clear demand to the industrial nations to finally take responsibility as the main cause of climate change makes it clear that climate justice for the countries of the Global South is a central point of their commitment. [...] The honour shows that their efforts are noticed and supported and that the Senate of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen is aware of its global responsibility."

Hamira Kobusingye, winner of the 18th Bremen Solidarity Award

Hamira Kobusingye comes from Kampala, the capital of Uganda. She came into contact with the issues of health and social justice at an early age through her mother's work. Later, she became involved herself in a project to help women create a livelihood through vegetable production and sales. Extreme weather events and drought regularly jeopardized the success of their work, so that the women involved were unable to improve their financial situation despite great personal commitment.

In her work, Hamira Kobusingye deals with climate change. In particular, the health and ecological consequences of large-scale contamination in the Niger Delta moved her to protest against oil projects in her own country and the associated construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline. She is trying to give a voice to the people affected by the construction of the pipeline. Inspired by the actions of Vanessa Nakate, winner of the Helmut Schmidt Future Prize 2022, she joined the weekly protests of the "Fridays for Future" movement in Kampala and became a driving force behind the "Rise Up Movement", which networks especially young African climate and environmental activists.

Hamira Kobusingye is also active at the international level. In 2022, she travelled through Europe with other climate activists from Uganda as part of her so-called "climate mobilization tour." Among other things, she demanded at the G7 summit in Bavaria that the industrialized nations, as the main cause of climate change, finally take responsibility for their role. For example, Kobusingye and her fellow campaigners are calling for appropriate funding and support to be made available to reduce the impact of climate change in the countries of the Global South. And to create a basis for equitable and sustainable development.

Bremen Solidarity Award

The Bremen Solidarity Award is presented every two years by the Senate of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. It is intended to be an encouragement to individuals or initiatives who are working in a special way to overcome injustice in North-South relations and the consequences of colonialism and racism, as well as for democracy and human rights.

The prize is endowed with 10,000 euros, which is made up of funds from the Senate Chancellery and an endowment from the private R. + R. Reinke Foundation.