At the 27th United Nations Climate Conference (COP27) on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, Fiji, Tuvalu, Kenya and Chile took what observers describe as an important step towards more ambitious national commitments to a managed phase-out of fossil fuels by joining as “friends” of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA).
The four countries join Italy, Finland and Luxembourg as “friends of BOGA”, which signals their intention to help accelerate a swift, just and equitable energy transition to avoid the worst scenarios of the global climate crisis.
BOGA was officially launched in November 2021 during COP26, in Glasgow, by the initiative of 11 national or subnational governments, under the leadership of Costa Rica and Denmark. Other core members of BOGA were, by then: California, France, Greenland, Ireland, Quebec, Sweden and Wales.
But on Wednesday, Portugal and Washington state, previously categorised as “associate members”, also turned into core members, increasing the total number of core members to 10.
The commitment assumed on Wednesday by Kenya is especially significant as it is the first African country to join the alliance, amid a dash for gas in the African continent.
Charity Migwi, Africa Regional Campaigner at 350.org, says: “It is remarkable for a developing African nation like Kenya to become a friend of BOGA. This shows leadership from the bottom up that should inspire developed nations to make similar commitments or become core members of BOGA and ensure a phase out of fossil fuels. At a time when there’s a massive dash for gas in Africa by European nations, the move also serves to signal African nations to take a strong stance against the aggressive push for expansion of fossil gas and prioritize a just transition to renewable energy.”
Joseph Sikulu, Pacific Managing Director at 350.org, says: “The expansion of oil and gas is a threat to the existence of many small island developing states. The leadership shown from Tuvalu and Fiji as friends of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance comes just as our Pacific leaders fight to have the phase out of fossil fuels included in the final text of the COP27 climate talks in Egypt. This is a David vs Goliath fight for many of our islands, but this announcement is a resounding call that the Pacific is not standing down in the fight against oil and gas expansion.”
Ilan Zugman, Latin America Director at 350.org, says: “At a crucial moment in the UN Climate Talks in Egypt, as citizens from all over the planet are demanding that governments take effective actions for the climate, Chile is sending a message that it is possible to make real commitments to eliminate oil and gas, even in countries where these sectors are well established and spend a lot of money to protect their privileges. This demonstration of leadership shows that when there is political will to guarantee a future for all, governments can overcome the harmful lobby of fossil fuels.”