UN climate conference should be the ‘African COP,’ environmental activist says
Young people take part in a protest calling for the government to take immediate action against climate change in Cape Town, South Africa, September 24, 2022 | AP

Elizabeth Wathuti said that the United Nations climate conference that opened in Egypt today should be the “African Cop.”

Ms. Wathuti, founder of the Green Generation initiative which nurtures love for the environment in young people, was speaking ahead of the Cop27 talks, which are being held in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh.

The Kenyan campaigner stressed that whatever was agreed at the conference would directly impact millions of people across Africa, especially women.

“The current drought situation is affecting millions. And by millions, I mean over two million people specifically in north-eastern areas are facing the climate-related situation,” Ms. Wathuti said.

“And across the Horn of Africa, we have over 20 million people. And mostly it’s the women and the children that are on the front line. They’re the ones that are greatly affected.

“They are the ones who have to walk for long distances without food and water. And also our ecosystems also have been greatly impacted.”

Ms. Wathuti said she had little faith that political leaders attending the summit would commit to any of the pledges made on environmental issues.

She said: “It should be the African Cop because the voices, the needs and the present priorities of the African continent actually are going to reflect in the outcome.

“But we are not seeing the kind of leadership. All we are seeing is leaders saying what they will do in international conferences, but then when they are off the stage, they do something different that is continuing to devastate communities.”

The last few months have seen numerous climate-related weather disasters.

Thousands of people have been killed, millions displaced and massive damage has been caused to infrastructure as well as agricultural land.

There has been massive flooding in Pakistan and Nigeria, deepening droughts in Africa and increasingly powerful hurricanes in the Caribbean.

Europe has also experienced record high temperatures even into the autumn.

United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres said: “Report after report has painted a clear and bleak picture.

“Cop27 must lay the foundations for much faster, bolder climate action now and in this crucial decade, when the global climate fight will be won or lost.”

Previous climate conferences have seen countries of the global north — the main polluters — fail to live up to their promises to slash greenhouse emissions to the promised 1.5°C (34.7°F).

Instead, warming is set to exceed a catastrophic 3°C (37.4°F).

Cop27 is scheduled to run until November 18.

Morning Star


Morning Star
Morning Star

Morning Star is the socialist daily newspaper published in Great Britain. Morning Star es el diario socialista publicado en Gran Bretaña.