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Activists describe pipeline projects in Africa as aggression on communities’ land rights

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The continuous financing and development of massive pipeline projects in Africa constitute an aggression on the land rights of communities and portend massive livelihood disruptions, conflicts, human rights abuses, and environmental degradation across the continent.

This submission was made by a team of activists under the aegis of the Oilwatch Africa (OWA) at their 2022 Conference and Annual General Meeting held in Accra, Ghana from August 8 to 12. The theme of the gathering was: “Stop Gassing the continent: Pipelines of Discontent.”

While listing such projects to include the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP), and the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline, they flayed the current rush for Africa’s oil, gas and mineral resources, stating that it amounts to a perpetuation of extractive modes of colonial exploitation, which condemned the continent to predatory slave trade, followed by the raping of agricultural and forest resources, before the current iteration with its focus on minerals and fossil fuels.

They frowned at the current trend in which multinational oil and gas companies sell off their stakes in onshore oil and gas assets and move out of African countries or further offshore, saying that it amounts to an abdication of responsibility for historical damage caused by their activities in these countries.

The campaigners described the Paris Agreement and the 1.5 degrees Celsius target as driven by the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as “a huge betrayal for Africa”, which they claim warms at about 50% above the global average.

“It means that, going by the NDCs, Africa is condemned to literally burn at the best of scenarios,” the delegated said in a communique released at the close of the gathering.

They insisted that Africa is rich in renewable energies and, given the growing competitiveness of clean energy technologies, the continent has the potential to advance its energy transition along a zero-carbon pathway.

“For instance, Africa has the world’s highest solar potential but currently accounts for just one,” they said, while lamenting that industrialised countries have demonstrated insincerity by routinely spending close to $2 trillion annually on military hardware and warfare while foot-dragging on climate commitments, especially adaptation finance.

Generally, Oilwatch Africa officials denounced efforts to “lock Africa in the exploitative fossil fuels pathway to meet the energy needs of polluting nations and to feed the greed of the fossil fuels industry”.

To ensure a just transition and secure climate justice for the African people, they made the following demands:

  • There must be a halt to all new coal, oil, or gas exploration and extraction activities in Africa in line with the imperatives of the energy transition. We specifically demand the stoppage of oil exploration and expansion plans in the Virunga basin of the DRC, the Keta region of Ghana, the Okavango Delta of Botswana, the Orange River Basin in Namibia, and a halt on all plans for the West African Gas Pipeline Project, the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline Project, and the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project, among others.
  • That African governments must leverage the hosting of COP27 this year to demand far-reaching measures on climate adaptation and finance, including emissions cut at the source.
  • African governments should demand from polluting industrialised countries an annual climate debt of $2 trillion being the amount they currently spend on military hardware and warfare annually. This will pay for loss and damage and serve as partial reparations for historical harms.
  • That oil and gas multinationals currently planning to divest and escape responsibility for their historical damage to African communities (such as Shell and Exxon Mobil in Nigeria’s Niger Delta) should restore the environment and compensate communities for ecocide committed in their territories before their exit.
  • African states must develop Africa-centred and just energy transition plans where such do not exist and where they do, to mainstream such plans into broader national development plans in ways that take cognisance of Africa’s huge renewable potential
  • African countries and the African Union must tread with caution to the so-called blue economy, and especially denounce unconditionally all attempts to normalise Deep Seabed Mining (DSM) within the continent.
  • International Financial Institutions, including the African Development Bank and export credit agencies to cut all financing to fossil fuel projects in Africa.
  • African governments and international organisations to respect the right to life of human rights and Eco-defenders in the continent who are increasingly repressed.

Original Source: environewsnigeria.com

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DEFENDING LAND AND ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS

Statement: The Energy Sector Strategy 2024–2028 Must Mark the End of the EBRD’s Support to Fossil Fuels

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is due to publish a new Energy Sector Strategy before the end of 2023. A total of 130 civil society organizations from over 40 countries have released a statement calling on the EBRD to end finance for all fossil fuels, including gas.

From 2018 to 2021, the EBRD invested EUR 2.9 billion in the fossil energy sector, with the majority of this support going to gas. This makes it the third biggest funder of fossil fuels among all multilateral development banks, behind the World Bank Group and the Islamic Development Bank.

The EBRD has already excluded coal and upstream oil and gas fields from its financing. The draft Energy Sector Strategy further excludes oil transportation and oil-fired electricity generation. However, the draft strategy would continue to allow some investment in new fossil gas pipelines and other transportation infrastructure, as well as gas power generation and heating.

In the statement, the civil society organizations point out that any new support to gas risks locking in outdated energy infrastructure in places that need investments in clean energy the most. At the same time, they highlight, ending support to fossil gas is necessary, not only for climate security, but also for ensuring energy security, since continued investment in gas exposes countries of operation to high and volatile energy prices that can have a severe impact on their ability to reach development targets. Moreover, they underscore that supporting new gas transportation infrastructure is not a solution to the current energy crisis, given that new infrastructure would not come online for several years, well after the crisis has passed.

The signatories of the statement call on the EBRD to amend the Energy Sector Strategy to

  • fully exclude new investments in midstream and downstream gas projects;
  • avoid loopholes involving the use of unproven or uneconomic technologies, as well as aspirational but meaningless mitigation measures such as “CCS-readiness”; and
  • strengthen the requirements for financial intermediaries where the intended nature of the sub-transactions is not known to exclude fossil fuel finance across the entire value chain.

Source: iisd.org

Download the statement: https://www.iisd.org/system/files/2023-09/ngo-statement-on-energy-sector-strategy-2024-2028.pdf

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NGO WORK

Almost 2,000 land and environmental defenders were killed between 2012 and 2022 for simply standing up to protect our planet and us all from the accelerating climate crisis.

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For the past 11 years, Global Witness has documented and denounced waves of threats, violence and killings of land and environmental defenders across the world, and 2022 marks the beginning of our second decade documenting lethal attacks. The world has changed dramatically since we started documenting these in 2012. But one thing that has not changed is the relentlessness of the killings.

Last year, at least 177 defenders lost their lives for protecting our planet, bringing the total number of killings to 1,910 since 2012. At least 1,390 of these killings took place between the adoption of the Paris Agreement on 12 December 2015 and 31 December 2022.

On average, a defender was killed every other day in 2022, just as was the case in 2021. Although the overall figure is slightly lower last year than in 2021, when we recorded 200 killings, this does not mean that the situation has significantly improved. The worsening climate crisis and the ever-increasing demand for agricultural commodities, fuel and minerals will only intensify the pressure on the environment – and those who risk their lives to defend it. Increasingly, non-lethal strategies such as criminalisation, harassment and digital attacks are also being used to silence defenders.

The situation in Latin America remains particularly concerning. In 2022, the region accounted for 88% of killings – an ever-growing majority of the world’s cases. A total of 11 of the 18 countries where we documented cases in 2022 were in Latin America.

Colombia tops the global ranking with 60 murders in yet another dire year for the country. This is almost double the number of killings compared to 2021, when 33 defenders lost their lives. Once again, Indigenous peoples, Afro-descendant communities, small-scale farmers and environmental activists have been viciously targeted. Yet there is hope; when Gustavo Petro, the first leftist president in contemporary Colombia, took office in August 2022, he promised social transformation and enhanced protection for defenders. No government had committed to that before.

In Brazil, 34 defenders lost their lives, compared to 26 in 2021. Defenders in Brazil faced relentless hostility from former president Jair Bolsonaro’s government, whose policies have opened up the Amazon to exploitation and destruction, have undermined environmental institutions and have fuelled illegal invasions of indigenous lands.

An illegal mining operation in the Yanomami Indigenous territory, Brazil, 2023. Alan Chaves/AFP via Getty Images

Mexico, the country with the highest number of killings in 2021, saw a significant drop from 54 murders in 2021 to 31 in 2022. At least 16 of those killed were Indigenous peoples, and four were lawyers. The overall situation in Mexico remained dire for land and environmental defenders, and non-lethal attacks – including intimidation, threats, forced displacement, harassment and criminalisation – continued to seriously hamper their work.

With 14 murders in 2022, Honduras has the world’s highest per-capita killings. The country’s first-ever female president, Xiomara Castro, has committed to protecting defenders. Yet early trends from 2023 point to ongoing rife violence, with reports of killings and non-lethal attacks across the country.

Read more: globalwitness

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NGO WORK

Africa Climate Summit 2023 Set to Surrender the Continent to Green Colonialism

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—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—

August 30, 2023; 12:00 AM PDT

Media Contact: amittal@oaklandinstitute.org, +1 510-469-5228

  • Officials from African governments, international institutions, and the private sector will converge at the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, September 4 – 6, 2023, to shape the course of Africa’s climate action.
  • With carbon offset schemes and tree plantations set to take center stage — despite their devastating impact along with the corruption and fraud that plague voluntary carbon markets — the Oakland Institute denounces the alarming direction taken by the event.
  • An examination of the African Forestry Impact Platform (AFIP), bankrolled by European development finance institutions, Japanese oil interests, and an Australian investment firm, lays bare the green colonialism that President Ruto of Kenya is promoting on the continent.

Oakland, CA — With carbon offset schemes and tree plantations set to take center stage at the Africa Climate Summit (ACS) and Africa Climate Week (ACW) — despite their devastating social and environmental impacts and the prevailing corruption and fraud within the voluntary carbon markets — a new report from the Oakland Institute, Green Colonialism 2.0: Tree Plantations and Carbon Offsets in Africa, denounces the alarming direction taken by the Summit. Starting on September 4, 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya, the two events aim to establish a common position for Africa on the climate crisis for the upcoming COP 28 conference in Dubai, slated for December 2023.

The outcome will have significant implications, given the ACS and ACW — both organized by the government of Kenya — are expected to shape the trajectory of climate action for the continent. The focus and intentions of the events, centered on “leveraging” Africa’s abundant “assets” to drive “green growth and climate finance solutions,” raise serious concerns. “This approach only paves the way for further resource extraction while sidelining the rights and interests of local and Indigenous communities,” said Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute.

Bankrolled by European development finance institutions, Japanese oil interests, and an Australian investment firm, the African Forestry Impact Platform (AFIP), examined in the report, exemplifies the green colonialism that President Ruto of Kenya is promoting on the continent — opening the door for more extraction of Africa’s resources. Despite AFIP’s claim of promoting “nature-based solutions,” a troubling pattern of exploitation and greenwashing underscores its investments, stakeholders, and financial backers. AFIP’s first acquisition is Green Resources, a Norwegian plantation forestry and carbon credit company notorious for its history of land grabbing, human rights violations, and environmental destruction across Uganda, Mozambique, and Tanzania.

Kenya’s promotion of voluntary carbon markets overlooks their fundamental flaws. Over the span of more than two decades, they have miserably failed to reduce carbon emissions, and instead wreaked social havoc by causing forced evictions, loss of livelihoods, and violence. Conflicts of interest, fraud, and speculation plague these markets while the expansion of carbon offset schemes and tree plantations results in expropriation of community lands to generate profits for investors. Far from benefiting Africa, the expansion of carbon markets sustains the status quo of resource exploitation, greenhouse gas pollution, and North/South power imbalances.

“The ACS and ACW represent a pivotal moment. African leaders have a historic opportunity to reject the false solutions that perpetuate the same exploitative model of colonialism that has fueled this environmental catastrophe. Instead, they must listen to the calls of over 400 African civil society organizations(link is external) and prioritize real solutions that account for historical responsibility, uphold the rights of Indigenous and local communities, and pave the way for an equitable and just transition. African people deserve climate justice, not more extractivism,” concluded Mittal.

Source: oaklandinstitute.org

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