Wednesday 3rd March 2021
Wednesday, 3rd of March 2021
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African govts told to urgently address climate, health challenges

The African Climate Justice Group has called on African governments and institutions to respond urgently to the joint climate, health and COVID-19 crises facing the continent.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa
Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa and Chairperson of the African Union

The group made the submission in a statement endorsed by over 300 African and international organisations and individuals. Continental institutions such as the United Nations Environment Programme, African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, African Development Bank Group (AfDB), World Health Organisation Africa Region (WHO-AFRO), subregional institutions, and national governments were copied.

According to the group, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and is exacerbating existing inequalities in the globalised neo-liberal and patriarchal socio-economic system.

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It stated that cascading social and economic crises are developing and, across Africa, a major food crisis may be looming as informal markets are shut down and African livelihoods are being impacted.

“Along with this, the climate crisis continues to ravage the African continent and so many parts of the world. Both the COVID-19 and the climate crises are human-made, rooted in the way our political and economic systems driven by the lust for profit, treat the Earth and her people,” the African Climate Justice Group stated, adding:

“Transnational corporations (TNCs), in collusion with African governments and other elites, operate with impunity and with disregard for people and the planet. Their activities have impacted livelihoods of local communities by grabbing lands and capturing natural resources, including through carbon markets and other harmful false solutions. They have polluted our air, water, lands, bodies and communities.

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“Structural adjustments, austerity measures, dismantling of the state and of public services, cuts to social services, privatisation of essential services and indebtedness, have ensured that African states have the least amount of readiness to respond to crises. This is rooted in the African colonial and post-colonial history and our relationship with neoliberal finance institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank that have pushed large loans with high interest rates on the back of structural adjustment conditionalities.”

The group then urged the governments to:

  • Support essential services, food, water and healthcare system,
  • Reorganise the economy, support and redistribute care work,
  • Stop all fossil fuel and extractive projects and preserve human rights,
  • Stop austerity, stop the debt crisis, accept funding support as grants NOT loans, recognition of climate debt, and
  • Support a Just Recovery.
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