Call for nations to think green in Covid-19 fight

People wearing face masks are seen at a park after the lockdown was lifted in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province and China's epicentre of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, April 12, 2020.

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) has called on African states to give the Covid-19 pandemic a greener look and attempt to juggle the two crises with sincerity.

Speaking yesterday to mark the Earth Day, the PACJA Executive Director Mithika Mwenda said it would prove difficult in the long run for states to spend so much on mitigation of the Covid-19 pandemic but forget climate change, which has claimed many lives in Africa.

He referred to news that at least 48 people had been killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, after it rained only once. In Kenya, where Dr Mithika spoke from, landlides claimed at least 12 lives overnight after flash floods. Many parts of the country have suffered flooding, and thousands displaced.

As the world marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day yesterday, Mithika said it would be key for governments to help their people, including the indigenous communities that interact with nature more closely, to conserve them by ensuring the green climate fund reaches the grassroots.

He said there were adequate legislations to ensure climate actions, but countries were lacking in implementation.

The climate just activist also spoke on a TV interview, where he indicated that the Covid-19 and climate crisis were two dangerous evils running at different paces but killing masses all the same. “Coronavirus is running a short 100 metre race, while climate change is on a marathon. At the end of the day both will have killed huge numbers and messed our economies,” he said.

He regretted that the UNFCCC’s COP25 did not achieve much on climate action in Africa, and urged that the African Group of Negotiators prepares well and employs better tacks to ensure UN climate summit COP26, which has been pushed to 2021, achieves more on tangible issues.

The COP26 was scheduled to take place in Glasgow, Scotland in November. “Climate change is foreseeable and we can do something to avert much. If we did the right thing in good time, there would be enough space for us to focus on emergencies like Covid-19,” said Mithika.

The situation, Mithika said, was scary for developing countries as a lot of donor countries were busy grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic in their own countries.

“Right now everyone is inward looking and we can only beg. Why can’t everyone do their part on climate action? We must think green, on a wider scale that would also include employing agriculture in a magnitude that can ensure food security for any African and poor nation,” he said, adding that conservation of every living thing’s habitat would offer peace of mind to all.