Farmers say COP26 didn’t tackle all issues

Friday December 03 2021
A farm in Kenya.

A farm in Kenya. Indigenous farmers in Africa say issues affecting them were not fully addressed. PHOTO | FILE | NMG


While the just concluded UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow concentrated on greenhouse gas emissions and how to help poor countries fight climate change, indigenous farmers in Africa say issues affecting them were not fully addressed.

These include their efforts to reclaim sovereignty over their land, resources, and food systems, and how infrastructure developments have impacted negatively on their livelihoods.

Indigenous farmers expressed their concerns at a recent conference, where they discussed how the world can address hunger, protect culture and biodiversity, and develop resilience against climate change. But the biggest challenge is the mining, oil and gas extraction that pose a threat to livelihoods.

For instance, in South Africa, mining, oil, and gas extraction threaten coastal communities and ecosystems. While permits are granted for offshore exploration, the resultant water pollution disproportionately impacts Zululand, Mpondoland, Xhosaland, Khoisanland, and Namaqualand communities — who have historically managed these coastal areas.

Eloise Costandius, a consultant, said South Africa and Africa, in general, is no longer in dire need of fossil fuel production or products.

“We should change our focus to green energy production and infrastructure. It will create more sustainable jobs without polluting the air and sea and save our natural environment.”


Recently, Shell said seismic surveys for oil and gas exploration could begin in December on the east coast. Locals are alarmed of the immediate harm to marine wildlife and coastal communities.

In Kenya, Lake Turkana Wind Power project occupies a vast concession of over 607km2 in Marsabit County, on the shores of Lake Turkana.

The concession is home to Rendille, Samburu, and Turkana pastoralists who use the land to seasonally graze livestock and for its water points.

Much of the corporate narrative suggests it is bringing development to an area previously undeveloped. However, this masks a more complicated past as Rendille, Samburu and the Turkana lived on and even fought over the shared resources due to the impact of climate change.