Is U.S., global North trying to silence Africa at climate talks? – Nnimmo Bassey

By Valentine Amanze

The Executive Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nnimmo Bassey, has raised the alarm that the U.S. and other Global North countries may be bullying African countries to obstruct discussions on fossil fuel industry interference at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Also, he appealed to delegates from the African region attending the experts’ meeting on the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany 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.
The measure, he said, would help weed out those that greatly contribute to the climate crisis that use their access within the space to weaken policy.
Bassey, however, observed that African negotiating block spoke strongly in support of the COI policy in the climate negotiations just last year in 2018 and now openly oppose the same recommendation.
He alleged that the U.S. has a long track record of bullying the Global South, using development aid and other leverage points to silence countries.
Given its opposition to the policy over the last four years, Bassey questioned whether the U.S. was up to its old tricks again, especially given the U.S.’ 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 it was an area of interest to developing countries.

The HOMEF boss also 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 U.S. and countries of the global North.”
Bassey said that the disappointing position of the African delegation on the COI issue in the Bonn talks, gave little hope for impacted citizens of the African continent who look up to them to lift off 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.

“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”, he insisted.

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