“Seeding Climate Justice II” – Summary of Day 1 of Maputo Climate Justice Conference
Justiça Ambiental’s climate justice conference began this morning at 8.30 am at Kaya Kwanga in Maputo. This is the second Annual Conference on Climate Change he are hosting, under the name “Seeding Climate Justice II.” Over 100 people, in fact about 108 people participated in the first day of the meeting, including representatives of local communities from 10 out of 11 provinces across Mozambique, Maputo-based civil society organizations, government representatives, and community and NGOs from South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria, India, Sweden, United Kingdom, and more.
Anabela Lemos, Director of Justiça Ambiental welcomed the participants, hoping that we can continue this process and be together next year as well, so that we can together contribute to the strengthening of local social movements for climate justice. Anabela Lemos then invited the Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development, Dr. Celso Correia to officially open the conference.
The Minister, Dr. Celso Correia, performed the official opening of the Conference, welcoming JA! for organizing the conference. He referred briefly to the history of the Mozambican Environment Ministry (known as MITADER), and the main issues of concern facing Mozambique, such as biodiversity loss, poaching, uncontrolled slaughter of our forests, referring to the conservation of these as a national imperative. He stressed the importance of building consensus, and the openness of the Ministry to work together with non-governmental organizations. The Minister put a challenge to JA! and the conference participants, that this conference should also be space to bring up solutions and build consensus for the numerous environmental problems that Mozambique is facing.
The conference proceeded with interesting presentations aimed to establish a common base of understanding of the current situation of climate change, the planetary crisis, why do we need to stay under 1.5 degrees, what does that even mean, what about the rights of impacted peoples or climate refugees. Then Nnimmo Bassey gave an overview of the link between climate, social and environmental injustice, which is still directly related to the models of “development” and the financial system that has been systematically implemented. He also spoke about the Paris Agreement, what did we gain and what did we lose, and how do we use those international spaces for connecting our struggles. Nnimmo also spoke about the spread of false solutions, financialisation of nature that we need to fight. A robust discussion followed, raising questions including the following:
- the situation of climate crisis is so dire, sometimes it’s hard to care, but we have to, because this is a matter of justice, rich countries created the problem and we are going to die from it, this is an injustice that we need to fight;
- what about the corporate capture of the UN negotiations, multi-national companies that are sitting in the discussion with more access than the NGOs;
- since governments signed the Paris Agreement they are doing the opposite and are going for more fossil fuels so it makes Paris Agreement even weaker than it is, because it is not legally binding;
- when we talk about climate science, whose science are we talking about, because we know that science is not without politics;
- we need to understand the true nature of African Renewable Energy Initiative so that it doesn’t turn into an initiative that we have to oppose;
- we shouldn’t be seeing ourselves as victims, we need to hold the rich countries accountable, but we also have to build our movement so that we don’t go down the same path;
- as civil society we need to look at ourselves and analyse how successful have we been in claiming the outside spaces that were ours in Paris;
- and many many more relevant issues were raised and discussed.
“We have to ensure that global average temperature does not exceed 1.5 degrees is crucial, there is how to adapt to an average temperature rise higher than this … There is no way to adapt, there is nothing to adapt!”
Nnimmo Bassey: “The Paris agreement was for many an important step, but for what we value, it a step in the wrong direction.”
The conference will continue for 2 more days, with many presentations and interesting discussions.