African Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have called for establishment of a Climate Justice Tribunal, aimed at mobilizing against excessive degrading of the environment.
According to a communiqu├® compiled by the CSOs, the tribunal will allow citizens to institute claims against their own and other governments, and also hear claims against corporations with great historical responsibility or climate- damaging future projects. The CSOs are already preparing cases for submission to the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 in Paris France in December. In an interview, the leader of Botswana Climate Change Network, Tracy Sonny who is also the African representative at the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) said the demand was motivated by the fact that third world governments do not give climate change issues priority in their National Development Plans (NDP).
“This in turn makes it difficult for the governments and CSOs to pressurize first world countries to account for the damages they caused through Green House Gas emissions. As the civil society we close the gap between governments and communities and we feel there is need for a legal instrument that can compel the political leadership to coerce the first world to compensate developing countries financially and technologically for the betterment of suffering masses. Developed countries seem not to be taking climate change seriously,” said Sonny.
She said though they have not yet decided how the instrument will be structured; they felt the time is ripe for the proposal to be presented. The instrument, she said would help support the Kyoto Protocol which allows for the use of fossil energy for in developing countries. It is meant to address environmental justice. The CSOs further demand that the new climate agreement should reinforce platform s and institutions that allow for sharing between governments of technology, capacity building and best practice in energy sector.
Sonny elucidated that their demand is meant to address institutions like Botswana Innovation Hub which she said could lead research and fast rack technology that can close the gap between the developed and developing world, thus ensuring that there is knowledge exchange between developed and developing countries. She said with this demand they advocated for situations where institutions like Madirelo Training and Testing Center promote technology transfer to empower rural communities, especially women.
“The livelihoods of rural women would be improved if they are empowered to access solar energy or any renewable energy and become entrepreneurs. We cannot afford to have enough sun to explore renewable energy and continue to have people using things like candle. With abundant solar, climate change can provide opportunity for new business ideas and projects,” she said adding.