Peoples AGM Faults African Leaders’ Climate Declaration, Calls for Grassroots-Centered
By: Femi Mustapha
A Group under the auspice of the Peoples Annual General Meeting (Peoples AGM), a coalition of over 60 Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria, dedicated to Climate and Environmental Justice, has faulted the African Leaders’ Nairobi Declaration on Climate Change and Call to Action, following the recent African Summit.
The Nairobi Declaration, which was aimed at uniting African leaders in the fight against climate change, has sparked controversies and raised questions about the true impact of its proposed measures.
In a statement released, the Peoples AGM highlighted several concerns and objections to the African Leaders’ declaration. They expressed reservations about various aspects of the declaration, including renewable energy priorities, continental collaboration, market mechanisms, ocean solutions, agricultural practices, and the handling of carbon sinks like the Congo Forest and peatland.
Speaking on behalf of the group, the Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, the Rev. David Ugolor stressed that the Peoples AGM rejects any renewable energy initiatives that will give priorities to industries over renewables that will promote and support community livelihoods and well-being.
According to him, “We view the emphasis on continental collaboration as a potential loophole for resource exploitation and making Africa vulnerable to resource grabbing. That market mechanisms, such as carbon credits, are viewed with suspicion and are not seen as the solution to our climate challenges.”
The group said that the emphasis on nature-based ocean solutions raises concerns about indigenous rights and the potential geoengineering initiatives, adding that it is another strategy to grab the ocean resources and deprive indigenous people and fishermen and women access to the full enjoyment of the ocean and water resources.
They further stressed that this is also an avenue to push for the implementation of full-scale geoengineering and ocean fertilizations. “We believe in promoting agro-ecology rather than climate-smart agriculture, which could lead to the displacement of local food varieties. We question the commitment to phasing down coal and abolishing fossil fuel subsidies, which may not lead to a genuine transition away from dirty energy,” Rev. Ugolor said.
While deliberating on issues relating to Carbon Sinks, they warned African governments against tampering with vital ecosystems such as that of the Congo Forest and peatland.
The Peoples AGM emphasized the need for climate solutions that prioritize the well-being of communities and indigenous peoples while addressing environmental concerns. They call for greater transparency, accountability, and inclusivity in climate action decisions.
The Peoples AGM reiterated that it stands firm in its commitment to advocating for climate and environmental justice from a grassroots perspective, calling for a dialogue that includes the voices and concerns of local communities and indigenous groups, to ensure that climate policies truly benefit those most affected by climate change.