FoEA seeks ECOWAS intervention to end exploitation by Multinational plantation farmers of community peoples

FoEA seeks ECOWAS intervention to end exploitation by Multinational plantation farmers of community peoples

Friends of the Earth Africa (FoEAfrica) on Saturday 18th June 2022called on the ECOWAS Parliamentto intervene in the exploitative activities and human rights violations by multinational plantation farmers on local farmers and community peoples in West Africa and across the African continent.

Making this presentation on behalf of FoEAto the 2022 1st ordinary ECOWAS parliament session that was held in Abuja, was Rita Uwaka, Forest and Biodiversity Programme coordinator for FoEA and Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria.

She said:

Our struggle against the corporate takeover of our forest and land for industrial plantation expansion by corporations is not a fight against development but a struggle to prevent further human rights violations, environmental damage, biodiversity and livelihoods loss; as well as promote the development of millions of indigenous peoples and local communities, with a focus on women and youths, who depend on forests and farmlands for their day-to-day well-being).

In 2020 Lagos Nigeria, Friends of the Earth Africa organized the First African Peoples Tribunal on Industrial Plantations on Industrial Plantations. The Tribunal recognized how deforestation and the rush for African land for large-scale agro-commodities expansion is causing systemic oppression, and human rights violations with devastating impacts on indigenous peoples and local communities, including women who depend on forest and land for their daily survival.

Apart from exposing the adverse social, environmental, and gender impacts of agribusinesses on African communities. It also highlighted the role of some Governments in promoting the private interests of corporations over the public interest in Africa. Ten cases across ten organizations from ten countries across East Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa, and West Africa. The ten countries were Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Almost two years after the first African Peoples Tribunal, we still witness land grabbing and violations associated with the activities of industrial plantation companies in West Africa and community territories across the continent. Breaches like the militarization of communities that play host to these companies especially those who farm oil, the use of slap suits to silence the voice of environmental human rights defenders, intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders, pollution of surface and underground water bodies as a result of the over-reliance of these companies on agro-toxins, more cases of labour exploitation and workers’ rights violations, accident and death of workers including pregnant women that were transported in open trucks to their workplaces in these plantations.

We, therefore, use this medium to seek the intervention of this house to end the nefarious actions of these multinational companies in West African communities and make the following recommendation:

1.       Support Economic Partnership Agreements that respect the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples in Africa and protect and restore the environment.

2.       Build policies and finance that promote people-powered solutions like Community Forest Management & Agroecology, which are built on peoples sovereignty and participation in decision making.

3.       Reject false solutions such as voluntary certification schemes and nature-based solutions for the climate crisis, that commodity nature greenwashes bad practices, license forest destruction, and violate human rights.

4.       Halt the criminalization and harassment of environmental human rights defenders and provide access to justice for defenders and affected local communities.

5.       Support policies that install a moratorium on expanding monoculture industrial plantations.

6.       Redirect investments from large-scale agro-commodities expansion in Africa by shifting government and private finance, research, and technical support towards community-based forest management and agroecology.

7.       Stop trade deals that empower companies to influence legislation through special rights and provisions at the detriment of the public interest.

8.       Work with foreign governments and institutions to halt the international trade and finance of forest and ecosystem risk commodities, including the recent European Commission anti-deforestation proposal.

9.       Promote access to justice with a strong UN Binding Treaty for business and human rights.

10.   Protect women’s rights and access to land.

11.   Ensure to have a periodic forest dialogue with forested countries on policy intervention they can take to halt deforestation and land grabbing for large-scale plantation expansion in Africa, especially within the ECOWAS member states.

For information, kindly contact

Rita Uwaka,

Forest and Biodiversity Programme coordinator

Friends of the Earth Africa and Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria

riouwaka@gmail.com

False solutions and empty promises filled the rooms in Bonn

False solutions and empty promises filled the rooms in Bonn

World leaders came together at the climate talks in Bonn, Germany which ended last week Thursday, 16th June 2022 with very poor outcomes, especially on loss and damage. This was another wasted opportunity for climate action as the discussions at the different tables were void of actions that would have moved the world, especially the Global South further away from climate catastrophe.

Kwami Kpondzo of Friends of the Earth Togo, represented Africa on the delegation from Friends of the International, made this comment about the session:

“Offsets and nature base solutions narratives are being used to commodify the nature. Many corporation are using them to promote large scale monoculture plantations and conservation projects as a compensation schemes to the emission they have produced. The commodification of nature through these schemes has a dramatic impacts on communities. Monoculture plantations lead to the destruction of communities’ livelihood by land grabbing, communities’ displacement, and use of chemical pesticides.

I call on the Governments of the world to act now and fast to phase out oil, gas and coal and enter effectively into a just transition process, a transition rooted in justice that will create the conditions for everyone to live a dignified life. They must prioritize Climate finance to help the global south adapt and mitigate against climate change.”

Contact us for more information;

Kwami Kpondzo , Friends of the Earth Togo

kwadodzi@gmail.com

Photo credit: FoEI

Chima Williams Wins Goldman Environment Prize

Chima Williams Wins Goldman Environment Prize

Chima Williams, ERA/FoE Nigeria Executive Director, Six others Win Goldman Environmental  Prize

Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) Executive Director, Barrister Chima Williams, and a member of the steering committee of Friends of the Earth Africa has been named among the seven winners of this year’s prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize.

A statement released by the Goldman Environmental Foundation listed other winners to include Niwat Roykaew from Thailand; Marjan Minnessma, the Netherlands; Juliet Vincent, Australia; Nalleli Cobo, United States and Alex Luciatante and Alexandra Narvaez, Ecuador.

The Goldman Prize is awarded annually to environmental heroes from each of the world’s six inhabited continental regions.

The Goldman Environmental Prize honours the achievements and leadership of grassroots environmental activists from around the world, inspiring all of us to take action to protect our planet”, the statement said.

The Prize was founded in 1989 in San Francisco by philanthropists and civic leaders Rhoda and Richard Goldman. In 33 years, the Prize has had an immeasurable impact on the planet. To date, 213 winners have been honoured including 95 women from 93 nations.

While the many challenges before us can feel daunting, and at times make us lose faith, these seven leaders give us a reason for hope and remind us of what can be accomplished in the face of adversity,” said Jennifer Goldman Wallis, Vice President of the Goldman Environmental Foundation.

She added: “The Prize winners show us that nature has the amazing capability to regenerate if given the opportunity. Let us all feel inspired to channel their victories into regenerating our own spirit and act to protect our planet for future generations.”

Chima Williams who became ERA/FoEN Executive Director in October 2020 won the award based on his work with two Niger Delta communities to hold Royal Dutch Shell accountable for environmental damage caused by a spill from its facilities into the communities between 2004 and 2007.

 On the 29th of January 2021, after 13 years of legal proceedings, the Court of Appeal sitting in The Hague, Netherlands, the home country of Shell, ruled in favour of three Nigerian farmers from two communities in two States of the Niger Delta – Eric Barizaa Dooh of Goi Community of Rivers State; Fidelis Oguru and Alali Efanga both from Oruma Community of Bayelsa State.

The Court ruled that not only was Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary responsible for the oil spills, but, as parent company, Royal Dutch Shell also had an obligation to prevent the spills.

The ruling was the first time a Dutch transnational corporation has been held accountable for the violations of its subsidiary in another country, opening Shell to legal action from communities across Nigeria devastated by the company’s disregard for environmental safety.

Previous Nigerian winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize include the late Playwright and environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and Cross River-based environmentalist Odiga Odigha.

Normally,  the Prize award is conducted  in-person at a ceremony at the San Francisco Opera House, United States, but this year, in the light of the COVID 19 pandemic, the Prize will be awarded virtually and broadcast online on May 25, 2022 (1 am Nigerian time).

The event will be streamed on YouTube and Facebook. Guests can register for the event here: rsvp.goldmanprize.org/2022.

Just Recovery Renewable Energy Plan for Africa Launched by Friends of the Earth Africa

Just Recovery Renewable Energy Plan for Africa Launched by Friends of the Earth Africa

 

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friends of the Earth Africa

Just Recovery Renewable Energy Plan for Africa Launched by Friends of the Earth Africa

50 organisations endorse the Plan 

__________________________________

Friends of the Earth Africa today launched ‘A Just Recovery Renewable Energy Plan for Africa’ which offers a practical and much-needed opportunity to change the trajectory of energy development, distribution and access on the African continent. The report stresses the urgency to democratise energy systems, reduce the power of transnational corporations and enable peoples and communities to access sufficient energy to live a dignified life. 

The report which was launched during a webinar with key climate justice voices demands a complete shift from current dirty energy systems to achieve 100% Renewable Energy in Africa. The plan found that it is technically and financially feasible, with an annual investment requirement of around US$130 billion per year. It lays out clear targets for this vision, with over 300GW of new renewable energy by 2030, as agreed by the African Union, and over 2000GW by 2050.  It also shows that the finance and investment needed to achieve the 100% renewable energy goal can be done through public finance from the global North, ending tax dodging and dropping the debt. 

Providing key insights of the report, Dipti Bhatnagar, the coordinator of the Climate Justice and Energy program for Friends of the Earth International, said: 

People are facing multiple crises on this continent. We need to stop the climate crisis and bring about a just and feminist energy transition that actually serves the need of people and planet. This report shows the way to power Africa with renewable energy while also trying to stem the climate crisis, supporting employment, gender justice, reducing inequality and pushing for a just recovery. The finance for this exists. We demand our leaders show the political will for this urgent transition.”

This view was shared by another panellist, Kwami Kpondzo of Friends of the Earth Togo, who said:

It is time for African governments, public and private financial institutions to end their interest and investment in dirty energy in Africa and open the doors further for democratised, low-cost renewable energy accessible to all including women, youth, local communities and indigenous peoples”.

The discussions and comments during the launch highlighted the importance of understanding the potential of RE to affect different sectors and groups of society, specifically women. Trusha Reddy, Programme Head for Energy & Climate Justice at WoMin African Alliance stressed that “our governments can either go with increasing energy access through clean energy that supports and is led by women or to get locked into dirty energy and drive us to climate and ecological crisis.”

The report explores the loss of human life and the damage to African economies wrought by Covid-19 that has exposed the chronic weaknesses and injustices in the continent’s energy and health systems. The challenges of renewable energy are being experienced throughout the continent. Hamza Hamouchene of Transnational Institute shared the experiences in North Africa and stated:

a swift energy transition to renewables is becoming inevitable even in mainstream discussions and policy fora. What the FoE Africa report highlights is the need for political will from those who are governing us as well as the necessary funding. This would entail stopping the wealth drain from Africa, the ending of debt servitude and the payment of ecological and climate debts owed to countries of the global South. The report also aptly grapples with one fundamental question which is how we make sure that this transition can be just, inclusive and democratic without reproducing the same patterns of dispossession and enclosure.

Similarly, Omar Elmawi, the campaign coordinator of the Stop East African Crude Oil Pipeline and deCOALonize campaigns, from Kenya, made an appeal to elected officials. Elmawi said: “to see avoiding emissions as an opportunity and not a burden. It is time to shift gears and move away from this path that is leading us to destruction.”

The Plan would bring electricity to hundreds of millions and create over 7 million jobs in order to drive a Just Recovery from COVID, address climate change and reduce inequality. It includes a political statement that has been signed and endorsed by 50 organisations across the continent – all echoing the demand for clean and affordable energy for hundreds of millions of Africans, that governments must take effective measures to prevent the Corporate Capture of democracy and stresses the possibility of a Just Recovery Renewable Energy Plan for a 100% Renewable Energy in Africa.

FOR EDITORS:

The report can be accessed at the links below:

ENGLISH : foeafrica.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/FoE-Africa-Just-Recovery-Energy-Plan-for-Africa-ENG.pdf

FRENCH: foeafrica.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/FoEI-Africa-Just-Recovery-Energy-Plan-for-Africa-FR-mr.pdf

PORTUGUESE: foeafrica.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/FoEI-Africa-Just-Recovery-Energy-Plan-for-Africa-PT-mr.pdf

The Political Statement on the Just Recovery Renewable Energy for Africa via the links below:

ENGLISH : http://foeafrica.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/FoEI-Africa-Just-Recovery-Energy-Plan-for-Africa-political-statement-ENG-rhr.pdf

FRENCH: http://foeafrica.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Declaracao-Politica-Plano-Renovaveis-Energia.pdf

PORTUGUESE:  http://foeafrica.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Declaracao-Politica-Plano-Renovaveis-Energia.pdf

For media enquiries contact:

Ekue Assem, Friends of the Earth Africa Communications Coordinator: +228 93 84 19 30 or info.com@amiterre.org

Dipti Bhatnagar, Climate Justice and Energy Coordinator, Friends of the Earth International: +258 84 035 6599 or dipti@foei.org

Philip Jakpor, Director of Programmes Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa: +234 803 725 6939 or jakporphilip@gmail.com

Media Advisory: FoE Africa to Launch Report on Renewable Energy Plan for Africa

Media Advisory: FoE Africa to Launch Report on Renewable Energy Plan for Africa

Friends of the Earth Africa

Friends of the Earth Africa to Launch Report on Renewable Energy Plan for Africa

Friends of the Earth Africa will launch a new report titled ‘A Just Recovery Renewable Energy Plan for Africa’ on Wednesday, 1 September 2021 by 12pm (GMT/UTC).

The report looks at the reality of renewable energy options in Africa and is based on the research and modelling of renowned academic Dr. Sven Teske shows that it is feasible to achieve a 100% renewable energy goal for Africa by the year 2050.

Africa will be hardest hit by climate change that threatens the poorest and most vulnerable people on the continent. The 6th Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released 9th of August 2021 exposed the fact that global warming has been more rapid in Africa than the rest of the world and the average annual maximum temperature in northern and southern Africa is likely to be close to four degrees Celsius above normal. The time to move away from harmful fossil fuels towards a transformed energy system that is clean, renewable, democratic and actually serves its peoples, has never been more urgent.

The ‘Just Recovery Renewable Energy Plan for Africa’ provides an analysis based on the importance of preventing the worst impacts of climate change and limiting average global temperature rise to 1.5°C over pre-industrial levels. It uses modelling to build a series of demands around building a just recovery based on a 100% renewable energy system for the peoples of Africa. This recovery plan addresses the triple crises of climate change, energy poverty in Africa and need for COVID recovery together.

The recovery plan pushes for urgent action and suggests that the one thing that stands in the way of achieving a 100% renewable future for Africa is the political commitment and funding and is why this plan is so important – it provides a pathway to get the funding and achieve 100% renewable energy.

The report shows that Africa needs approximately $130 billion a year between now and 2050 as investment towards achieving the 100% renewable energy goal. It has identified three funding sources that could enable the continent to achieve the goal and produce enough energy to meet demand and eliminate energy poverty. A Just Recovery can be financed by public finance from the global North, ending tax dodging and dropping the debt.

The report stresses that achieving 100% renewable energy is the only way to prevent a climate catastrophe and unlock immeasurable employment opportunities in equipment manufacture, operation and technical support for the sector. It states that a 100% renewable energy goal for an independent Africa by 2050 is not just aspirational, it is possible.

The report will be released on 1 September 2021 on these websites: www.foeafrica.org and www.foei.org.

Contacts

Dipti bathnagar, Climate Justice and Energy Coordinator, Friends of the Earth International: +258 84 035 6599 or dipti@foei.org

Philip Jakpor, Director of Programmes Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa: +234 803 725 6939 or jakporphilip@gmail.com

Ekue Assem, Friends of the Earth Africa Communication Coordinator: +228 93 84 19 30 or info.com@amiterre.org

The Big Con Report

The Big Con Report

On 9 june 2021, Friends of the Earth International launched a new joint report with Corporate Accountability and Global Forests Coalition. The report, entitled, “The Big Con: How Big Polluters are advancing a “net zero” climate agenda to delay, deceive, and deny,” comes following a year packed with record announcements of “net zero” pledges from corporations and governments, and builds on a growing body of research that calls the integrity of “net zero” as a political goal into serious question. As more and more “net zero” plans have been rolled out, the scientific, academic and activist communities have all raised grave concerns about the inability of these plans to achieve the commitments of the Paris Agreement and keep global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Read full report