Gabes is a middle-size city in the South of Tunisia with a beautiful oasis standing in a hot and arid region. 50 years ago, a large chemical complex was established with devastating effects on the local population and the environment. A report has shown that the local inhabitants, due to the exposition of the gazes (notably sulphur dioxide) emitted by the complex, have an increased chance to catch asthma, cancer and to lead to a premature death. It also shows the devastating effects on the environment and the local biodiversity. A group of youth-led local activists, called “Stop Pollution”, has organised and decided to lead the fight against these environmental crimes.
With dozens of other groups from around the world, “Stop Pollution” is participating in the Climate Justice Camp, taking place in Nabeul (Tunisia) between September 26 and the 30. 5 Action Aiders are participating. The camp aims at bringing together local and international civil society organisations and activists to share their common struggles, connect them through future common campaigns and organising and unite their forces ahead of CoP 27. “Towards just transition in North Africa”, “Climate Justice and Human Rights”, “Effective communication in climate change”, “Base building in Organizing”, “Artistic Artivism”, “The Black Hive – Building Global Black Solidarity” are among the many workshops organised by the immense diversity of participants.
One of the workshops Action Aiders actively engaged in was the COP27 strategizing sessions. Facilitated by an inspiring Tasneem Essop of Climate Action Network (CAN), we had the opportunity to reflect collectively on the specific (and dramatic) context in which the next COP will take place. We could also strengthen our capacity on the COP processes and more thematic issues as well as identify the opportunities for upcoming actions. Building on the success of the collective and united demand in Glasgow, loss and damages will be the key political demand, particularly in a context of a firm (and irresponsible) opposition from the US and EU governments. In this regard, we were particularly proud of the impact of the large online mobilisation for Loss and Damage Action Day on 22 September where the #PayUp4LossAndDamage hashtag reached 32 million views, and in which Action Aid played a key role.
With COP27 starting in few weeks, we are extremely excited to see such a wide and strong mobilisation across the climate movement on loss and damages. We all agreed to keep on pushing for loss and damage finance to be included on the formal COP agenda for negotiations, and for Parties to agree to a new Funding Facility to address Loss and Damage (LDFF).
A call to action is currently being prepared by CAN International and others for a strong mobilisation targeting the US government in the middle of October. As the key blocker, the Biden Administration needs to feel the pressure and be open to progress on this point. Other actions will be organised during the COP and the day of Action on 12 November, both in the COP’s blue zone and around the world. We will keep you posted!
For many governments in the Global North, the Loss and Damage Funding Facility is only another “liability” and a source of funding to flow towards the Global South. The particularly powerful message that arise from the Climate Justice Camp is that the LDFF is a not only a matter of finance but a matter of JUSTICE: the people that contributed the least to climate change are at the forefront of the escalating climate disasters. The most vulnerable communities are paying the human, social and economic cost of a climate change that they have not caused. We can change this injustice for good before the end of year if we mobilise widely.
Let us fight hard for the LDFF
Let us fight for Justice!