By Agbonkhese Oboh
The Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, has raised the alarm that the United States of America, USA, and other Global North countries may be bullying African countries to obstruct discussions on fossil fuel industry interference at the week-long UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Bonn, Germany.
HOMEF called on delegates from the African region attending the experts’ meeting to join the Least Developed Countries, LDC, in saying no to corporate bullying and demand a Conflict of Interest, COI, policy as a framework of checks and balances for all non-party stakeholders.
According to the Executive Director of HOMEF, Nnimmo Bassey, “a COI framework is key to keeping big polluters and their allies out of the room to pave way for real solutions to the climate crisis. Now is the time for African governments to take a stand. Enough is enough.”
According to him, this will help weed out those that greatly contribute to the climate crisis that use their access within the space to weaken policy.
Bassey, said: “The U-turn by the African negotiating bloc on the COI issue is suspicious. It is disheartening that an issue as important as protecting the climate negotiations from industry meddling is now subjected to a carrot and stick experiment by US and countries of the Global North.”
Bassey said the disappointing position of the African delegation on the COI issue at the Bonn talks gave little hope for impacted citizens of the African continent, who look up to them to lift the heavy burden of the climate crisis weighing on their shoulders.
He commended Uganda for braving the odds to become the lead voice for a COI policy and framework in the LDCs, insisting that what delegates from other African countries should do is get out of their stupor and support the LDCs to save Africa.
HOMEF observed that African negotiating block spoke strongly in support of the COI policy in the climate negotiations just last year and now openly opposes the same recommendation.
Over the last four years, the U.S. has opposed the COI policy, using development aid and other leverage points to silence countries, issuing a veiled threat in response to the LDC’s position: that a conflict of interest policy would somehow harm parties with great interest in renewable energy, knowing that this was an area of interest to developing countries.