We have to speak about climate! Its urgent!

On Monday 14th November, the Rural Women\’s Assembly (RWA) and the People’s Dialogue participated in the Africa Assembly in the COP22 Autonomous Space.

In a packed hall speakers talked about the challenges of youth in Africa, about the concerns of workers, about the importance of governance, the daily problems of farmers and the position of women in relation to climate justice.

However, there were three critical arguments that are important for the People’s Dialogue to draw attention to.

First is the fact that those fighting for climate justice are not sufficiently making a noise about the urgency and the immediacy of the ecological crisis.  Climate change is real and its impact is dramatic!  Farmers spoke about the problems of the drought, about the food scarcity and the lack of any meaningful debate and work on what is needed to stop this deepening crisis.

The second thread the speakers raised was the ongoing exploitation of Africa by multi-national corporations (MNCs). Africa is extremely rich in resources, it has great wealth yet the ongoing theft of our resources, under-develops the continent.

“Africa not only has 60% of agricultural land, fish, great mineral wealth, vast biodiversity” yet today  “our youth are dying in the Mediterranean Sea”, one of the speakers pointed out.    Speakers also noted that presently Africa is in Europe. Yet Africa is simply treated as “a second grade global citizen”. Africa is treated in a paternalistic manner. This is a new wave of imperialism.

This trend has to be stopped! We have to build movements that challenge this trend, that hold our government accountable to us as citizens.

MNCs are not being controlled- climate change has no borders- African governments are implicated given that they sign the agreements at COP. They are giving permission for the exploitation of our wealth for the “sake of development”. Yet 90% of the profits are taken out of Africa.\"members-of-civil-society-advocate-for-more-financial-resources-to-address-climate-change\"

Many examples abound of how African governments are allowing MNCs  to dig out the minerals, or cut 60% of our forests (timber).  Africa is becoming hostage to Monsanto who wants to take over our seeds and our traditional agriculture.

The third area that received attention was the need to take forward the principle of “Polluter must pay.”  The big polluters, USA and China, control the COP negotiations. They control the COP process together with corporations. These corporations use the climate crisis to develop and bring “false solutions” such as the Green Revolution and the Blue economy. They continue to attempt to control our governments and policies. These MNC continue to want to make profits even from this dramatic crisis that humanity faces. Finally the call for African Governments to change their development model was echoed in the Assembly as people spoke.

Pushing forward for climate is in the hands of social movements, but the fight is much more than just climate change and polluters must pay- it is about the future generations, it’s about real transformation and the survival of our humanity.

People’s Dialogue and Rural Women’s Assembly (RWA) in Morocco.

14th November

COP refers to the Conference of the Parties. These are the yearly conferences held in terms of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The Conference of the Parties (COP) was designated as the supreme governing body of the Convention. This is the 22nd year that the conference is being held, hence COP-22. COP-22 was held in Marrakech, Morrocco, from 14th to 18th November 2016.

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