The Lome Declaration of Oilwatch Africa on Climate Justice and Food Sovereignty in Africa
Members of Oilwatch Africa network met in Lome, Togo, on 9 June 2015 and robustly considered the implications of the world’s stubborn dependence on fossil fuels on climate, food sovereignty, nutrition and well-being in Africa.
Participants at the conference shared experiences on impacts of extractive activities on their communities and countries. The conference particularly examined the environmental and socio-economic impacts of oil, gas and coal extraction. The impacts on food production, water pollution and deforestation were discussed as well as the growing trend of land grabbing on the continent.
Oilwatch Africa frowns at the trend where corporate interests and international groupings, such as the G7 and the like, aimed at polluting our biodiversity, grabbing our lands, water and seeds, are being promoted under the banners of Africana being hungry and now being malnourished, stunted and going blind, as unacceptable ploys to destroy our agriculture, subvert our economies, recolonise the continent and subjugate our peoples.
The conference noted that the current level of consumption of fossil fuels is in denial of the demand not to burn 80% of known fossil fuel reserves without raising global temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels and triggering catastrophic climate change.
The conference noted that fossil fuel dependence fuels corruption, engenders conflicts and distorts the value base of our communities.
Oilwatch Africa members regretted that the false dreams that African countries can build their economies on the extractivist path has unfortunately been bought by our governments. Furthermore, with the rise of new fossil fuel reserves being found and extracted across the continent, there is no respect for pristine areas of high cultural and
world heritage value.
The conference noted the serious impact on agriculture by the pollution of our lands, salinization of fresh waters and the destruction of fisheries as inimical to our economy and overall wellbeing.
The meeting also noted that this trap is an extension of the colonial route that saw Africa merely as a source of raw materials and strapped colonial and neo-colonial governments on the treadmill of cash cropping and mineral extraction for export.
With a resolve that urgent actions must be taken to save the African continent from being wholly degraded, grabbed and burnt, Oilwatch Africa declares and demands as follows:
1. Global distortions brought about by excessive consumption of fossil fuels and the externalisation of costs to parts of the world that consume less energy and fossil fuels lock in unacceptable injustices and must be urgently and openly addressed.
2. The world must wake up to the fact that at least 80% of known reserves of fossil fuels must be left unburned and this should be the core of climate negotiations if the Planet is not to be burnt on the altar of profiteers who do not care about future generations and other species on the planet.
3. Africa is one of the most exposed regions of the world to climate change impacts, with temperature rise at least 50% above global averages. Global action to tackle this cannot be based on voluntary independently nationally determined contributions (INDCs) being pursued at the Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
4. African governments must reject false solutions to global warming including those pushed though REDD+, geoengineering and other strategies that are threatening to elevate the currently intolerable levels of land grabbing to that of a whole continent grab.
5. Floods, droughts and expanding desertification on the continent are all fed by the world’s continual addiction to fossil fuels.
6. Obnoxious activities such as pollution and gas flaring which alarmingly continue in the oil fields of Nigeria, Angola, Algeria and elsewhere must be stopped and energy needs be met with abundant renewable alternatives. In particular, Oilwatch calls on the new government in Nigeria to implement the almost four years old UNEP Report on Ogoni environment and give the people a chance to enjoy a healthy environment.
7. Oilwatch Africa declares that with uncontaminated lands and adequate support for local agricultural production Africa can feed Africans and levels of nutrition can be maintained without resort to commercially and politically driven genetic engineering of our staple crops for enhanced vitamin levels. We insist that nutrition cannot be manufactured in laboratories.
8. We demand access to land and security of land tenure for women
9. Oilwatch Africa calls for stoppage of fossil exploration and other expansion activities on the continent, demands an audit of already accumulated impacts and full restitution for harm suffered.
10. Oilwatch Africa resolved to support the fight for justice by communities impacted by mining and other extractive activities in Togo and elsewhere in Africa.
11. In line with the United Nation’s declaration of 2015 as the Year of the Soil, Oilwatch Africa reminds all that the soil supports life and culture and that extractive activities are inimical to keeping our soils healthy and alive and reiterate our call to leave fossil fuels underground and work to build a better life above the ground. Leaving fossils
underground has been a clarion call of Oilwatch for decades and has recently been confirmed by neoliberal institutions such as the World Bank ands the International Energy Agency.
Oilwatch members and communities at the conference declared that Africans must stand together in the global struggle for food sovereignty, stand with the movements that say Yes to Life and No to destructive Mining and pledged to remain active in the movement for climate and food justice all aimed at building a well-being economy inspired by the African spirit of solidarity economy and Ubuntu.
Finally, Oilwatch Africa called to memory the many martyrs of environmental justice struggles in Africa and around the world. Calling to mind that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, Ogoni leader and activist and Africa’s foremost environmental justice campaigner, Oilwatch Africa resolved that their struggles will not be in vain.
Signed by: Host Community Network members from Ghana, Nigeria and Togo; Civil Society and Oilwatch Africa members from Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, Togo and Uganda