Johannesburg, 10 February 2020 – Upon commencing his year-long tenure as chair of the African Union, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa must seize the opportunity to unify the continent on climate action. 

“The African continent faces the highest risk from the climate and biodiversity crises, yet many governments are continuing business as usual. Industrialised countries have the historical responsibility for causing climate change, but the climate crisis is a global threat and African leaders have a shared responsibility to act now to address it”, said Happy Khambule, Senior Political Adviser for Greenpeace Africa. 

“For Africans, the climate crisis is not a distant threat – it is a daily reality that people face with devastating consequences, from droughts to floods, loss of livelihood and access to water, to violent conflicts over dwindling resources. President Ramaphosa must harness his diplomatic skills as the incoming African Union Chair to promote a pan-African response to the climate crisis, building on and expanding the African Union’s Agenda 2063”, Khambule added.

“To ensure access for all to clean air and water, and to break the deepening vicious cycle of extreme weather events and associated impacts, African nations must stand united to champion 100% renewable energy by 2050, effectively combat desertification, and protect our continent’s natural treasures and biodiversity through a new UN oceans treaty and a permanent moratorium on logging in all rainforests”, Khambule concluded.

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