Call for a rights-based response to environmental degradation in Madagascar – Madagascar

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Madagascar is one of the countries that contributes the least to the climate crisis but is the fourth most affected by it according to the 2020 Global Climate Risk Index. The country is also a biodiversity hotspot.

Since its creation in 2012, the Center for Research and Support for Development Alternatives – Indian Ocean (CRAAD-OI), based in Antananarivo, has been working to promote sustainable development alternatives centered on the promotion and protection of rights. of populations most vulnerable to climate change. , rare earth mining and agro-industrial projects in Madagascar.

“Madagascar has a very valuable and sensitive ecosystem, but it is severely compromised by climate change. With carbon dioxide emissions of almost 0.1 tonnes per capita, it is one of the countries contributing the least to the climate crisis, said Volahery Andriamanantenasoa, program manager for CRAAD-OI. Today, more than 1,800 endemic species are threatened with extinction, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s 2020 Red List of Threatened Species, comprising 80% of the country’s endemic plant and animal species.

Ahead of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 26), in September 2021, UN Human Rights joined forces with CRAAD-OI to organize the first public forum on climate justice and human rights. of man in Madagascar. The forum brought together more than 100 representatives of local communities across the country affected by climate change, as well as women’s and youth organizations and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.

Andriamanantenasoa stressed that most of the environmental civil society organizations in his country focused on individual responsibility. However, a nascent national youth movement has started to shift the discourse towards climate justice. Madagascar has been hit by a series of natural disasters, drought and famine in the south that have forced people to migrate north to find farmland for their survival.

“Unfortunately, the generalized degradation of the country’s natural environment is accompanied by Madagascar’s development policies which tend to perpetuate the extractivist system inherited from colonial times and post-independence regimes,” Andriamanantenasoa said.

“These policies are particularly focused on the promotion of the extractive and agro-industrial sectors, as well as on the development of the blue economy and the establishment of special economic zones dedicated to foreign investors. As a result, these development strategies are characterized by their large ecological footprint and land encroachment, which leads to a recurring problem of land grabbing.

The forum organized by the UN Human Rights and CRAAD-IO ended with the adoption of the Antananarivo Declaration for climate justice, which was drawn up by the young people of the Madagascan social movement for justice. climate change to alert national authorities to economic, social and cultural rights issues related to climate change. They also hope that the Declaration will support their advocacy with the government to promote and integrate environmental education in schools; set up a “Green Climate Fund” and ensure access to the fund for young people; amend the Malagasy penal code to introduce environmental offenses; operationalize a Green Court; and ratify the optional protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

At the COP21 in Paris in 2015, developed countries were invited to step up their support in order to mobilize $ 100 billion per year by 2020 for climate action in developing countries.

“At the COP, we ask the large countries of the North to pay their historical, ecological and climatic debt to Madagascar. They have made so many commitments and now is the time to make up for the irreversible loss and damage their actions have caused, ”she said.

“They should try to restore, if it is still possible, the damage they have caused and try to implement adaptation and mitigation measures in consultation with local communities,” added Andriamanantenasoa. “So far decisions about carbon offsetting have been taken at the top, but the money has not reached local communities. We need concrete climate plans with concrete actions that can have a real impact on people. “

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