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Mozambican NGOs in Durban: Push your governments, we will push ours! • 9.12.2011Durbanetelän kansalaisjärjestöt

Different voices from the ground

Three different groups of Mozambican civil society organizations have arrived in Durban: the so-called ”COP group”, very much linked with the Ministry of Environment of Mozambique (MICOA), groomed to make the right noise for the Mozambican and the African position during COP17.

The ”COP group” is comprised of five small organizations with no knowledge of climate change issues, but eager to participate in the Durban conference. No official climate change position is known from the group which learned the basics of climate change just before the COP. They have endorsed the government position, aligned with that of the African Group. The Mozambican position states climate finance and technology transfer as top priorities.

”False solutions”

Another group – not attached to MICOA – also arrived in Durban. A coalition formed by National Farmers Union of Mozambique (UNAC), Friends of the Earth Mozambique, Via Campesina and KEPAs partner organization Justiça Ambiental (JA) formed a common front with a peculiar position  on climate change issues and negotiations. The coalition argues against compensation mechanisms calling it ”a pack of false solutions” and urgently demands the reduction of emissions by rich countries.

According to the position, ”false solutions” will push Africa further into misery. The position also  rejects and strongly denounces the Copenhagen and Cancun accords. In essence rich countries are to blame for all the climate mess and they should compensate the rest of the world.

There is also a ”third group” of CSOs in Durban. These are different organizations with no link with each other and without any other agenda other than ”out of curiosity” to see what is COP and how it is done.

More dialogue needed

These three groups illustrate how the debate on climate change issues is still weak among civil society organizations in Mozambique, and how the government is still calling the shots on climate change debate.

Strong views like those of the coalition have no space in any dialogue with the Mozambican government. The coalition says they were sidelined during the process of drafting the Mozambican position. According to MICOA, JA and its coalition were out of tune for COP.

Durban and beyond

Despite the differences in organisations’ views, it is encouraging to see more organizations than in previous years to participate in COP17. However, these organizations still mostly come from Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. The debate on climate change needs to be expanded to cover the whole country.

Luckily, the organizations present in Durban have promised to continue work on climate change as we head for the next COPs. It is also encouraging to see that Mozambican organizations are getting connected with regional networks on climate change to make their voices stronger! It seems that JA is well positioned in Africa as they have strong alliances across the continent.

Durban can definitely function as a catalyst for a much stronger debate on climate change issues in Africa, especially in Mozambique. However, it is still a long way to go until the Mozambican society fully understands what is at stake in climate change issues and in the climate change negotiations.

Last days of COP

Meanwhile, as COP17 has almost come to a close, all civil society organization present are sharing the same worries as the rest of the world: will the Kyoto protocol be buried in Africa? Will rich countries provide sufficient funding for adaptation? At this point transparency, honesty and political will is all that Africa is asking from rich nations.

And rest assured: back home we will deal with our own government on transparency, honesty and political will!

Humberto Ossemane, Kepa Mozambique

Africa Roars for Climate Action. Koululaiset valmistautuvat nopeita ilmastotoimia peräänkuuluttavaan valokuvatempaukseen Durbanissa. Yli 2 000 eteläafrikkalaista koululaista muodosti leijonanpään rantahiekalle Durbanin Addington Beachilla keskiviikkona 7. joulukuuta. Ihmisleijona karjahti nopeiden ilmastotoimepiteiden puolesta. Africa Roars -tapahtuman järjesti TckTckTck-ilmastokampanja yhteistyössä taiteilija John Quigleyn kanssa. Kuva Sanna Autere, Kepa.

Africa roars for climate action.

Thousands of South African youths form a giant human lion and call for urgent action on climate change. The event was in partnership with international artist John Quigley and supported by the TCKTCKTCK campaign and Porteon solar electric vehicles. Picture: Shayne Robinson, Greenpeace, SpectralQ