Non-governmental organisations, under the agies of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), We the People, and the Nembe Se Lawyers Forum have urged African governments to build resilience and protect livehoods to mitigate the impact of climate change.
The groups made the call while briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Dr Ninnmo Bassey, the Executive Director of HOMEF, said that the briefing was called after the groups participated at the 27th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held from Nov. 6 to Nov. 20 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
Bassey said that the idea of the COP27 was held to review previous successes and to find solutions to tackle the climate crisis that is confronting the world.
“Just before the COP27, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) issued an emission gap report that aggregated the Natonally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that countries have made under the Paris Agreement and concluded that the pledges would do nothing to ward off impending catastrophic global heating.
”The report highlighted that the world should prepare for a temperature rise as high as 2.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the close of this century.
“The report emphasised that the window to avert climate catastrophe was rapidly closing and that the world needs urgent transformation and deep actions to cut emissions by at least 45 percent by 2030.
“African nations should step up to build resilience in our countries by what we do and by our policies, while we expect climate debt payments.
“The complex question here is will any money coming from climate change intentions be of any use to our people? Because Africa has gotten to the point where it should be respected by other nations of the world,” he said.
Bassey said if oil companies and polluting nations will not accept their place, it means that all the historical pollutions will be swept under the carpet and that will not be just for Nigeria.
“If our negotiators insist on liability, I believe they will get a better deal at the end of the day and those who are impacted when they don’t have redress can seek redress in court.
“Anybody who damages environment in a way that its irreversible or has long term impact can be sued in an international court of justice for committing a crime,” he said.
He called on impacted nations and civil society organisations to support the acknowledgement of ”ecocide” as an international crime and for the liability clause within the loss and damage seniro as the negotiation goes further.
He urged the Federal Government to hold consultation and engagement at community, regional and national levels on the liability clause.
Also speaking, Mr Inouro Wills of the Nembe Se Lawyers Forum said that there should be emphasis on how to get international views or intervention on checking oil theft in the country.
Wills, who is also an activist, called for collaboration between communities, CSOs, state and federal governments to get gatekeepers who will care for the environment.
This, he said, would help restore losses and damages in the country as a result of oil spills.
By Precious Akutamadu