Africa at Noon: Marie Josée Houénou

Download MarieJosee-09102019

“Climate Change Response: Reality Versus Development”

Marie Josée Houénou
Legal Expert
Consultant in environmental law / climate change strategies
LCOY Côte d’Ivoire coordinator


Countries use natural resources as a prerequisite for any form of economic or social development. However, a non-sustainable use of land and resources will strengthen both development and humanity. In her presentation, Marie-Josée will discuss the link between development challenges and state commitments to protect environment and climate while showcasing projects and initiatives from citizens, public institutions, and the private sector.

From trade agreements to environmental treaties, it seems that environment is a “Natural Wealth in the Process of Disappearance.” Land conservation, agriculture, clean energy, sustainable technologies, and finance are key challenges for many countries across the globe. The presentation will reflect adaptation and mitigation projects, strategies and stories from Côte d’Ivoire, France, India, Rwanda, Benin, Canada, South Africa. In the context of the international negotiations on climate change and the Paris Agreement, it will help us discuss the impact of international conventions at local level, and vice versa, while identifying the role that citizen countries and cities can play in key issues like gender, agriculture, energy, entrepreneurship, innovation, and financial mechanisms.


Specialized in international environmental law, Marie-Josée Paula Houénou is working on the implementation of the climate change strategies in Côte d’Ivoire working with cities, governments, civil society. As a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) from Young African Leaders Initiative in University of Wisconsin, she is the Coordinator of the LCOY (local conference of youths on climate change), that will be held in Abidjan in October and November 2019. In November 2018, she coordinated the first COY (Conference of Youths) on climate change accredited by YOUNGO, the youth constituency of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC), reached 250 youths and women in the economical capital, Abidjan.

Previously, she worked on sustainable development projects with World Resources Institute, UNESCO, the Ivorian Ministry of environment, the Francophone Institute for Sustainable Development (IFDD), in Quebec, the European Union. She helped support francophone negotiators during international negotiations such as Conference of Parties (COP), related to the UN Convention on climate change and biodiversity. Focusing on climate change, green entrepreneurship, women, sustainable development and sensitization, she coordinated the Youth Initiative to fight climate change – thanks to IFDD and Green Fund Quebec, reaching over 330 000 persons.

Marie-Josée likes to link legal project and field projects that can provide sustainable opportunities for the most vulnerable to fight poverty and reach development in Africa. That’s why she created the WESISAH Foundation to inspire people, support and showcase green sustainable initiatives. She holds a Masters Degree in international environmental law, a Masters Degree in business law from University of Limoges and Poitiers in France and a Masters Degree in Business Administration. She will co-lead the gender and climate change workshop in September 23 and 24 thanks to the African Studies YALI Continuing Connections travel award.