28 May 2018 – Will it be right to say that so much unlike the countries of the Global North, those of Africa and the Global South in general cannot really be said to collectively have the issue of sustainable environmental governance on the agenda? Given the observable reality in the continent and in the Global South at large, your answer is as good as mine.
It is understandable to observe that the political class of countries of the global North who have for the most part relocated the production and related aspects of their multinational corporations’ operations to countries of the Global South to exploit ‘opportunities’ such as cheap labour and other factors of production, weak state capacity that allows them to usually evade tax or have extremely unfair tax cuts, etc. do not appear to exert the needed significant deal of influence – in economic and various possible social sanctions – that can veritably compel the political class of the countries of Africa to collectively do the needful on the regional environmental governance landscape.
It may also not be farfetched to admit the foibles in the character of the UN and the corresponding implications for its limitations in bringing about this desired reality in Africa. The arbiters of the constitutional powers to make binding decisions on the UN’s affairs and those of its member states – the Permanent Members of the security council – the US, UK, France, Russia and China, can only give what they have. The political class of these Permanent Members’ countries in synergy with those of the global North in general have severally been observed to aid the continuing criminal environmental degradation inclined activities of multinational corporations.
Thus, the recently disturbing revelatory paradox of the UN violating its six principles for responsible investment2 by its significantly huge investment in companies that violate human rights through environmental degradation among others is not surprising to the keen observer. If the UN appears to have been forced, by these political class of the global North who dictate its direction, to betray its identity and objectives, what more can be expected of the AU?
From the case of Shell in Nigeria3, of Glencore in South Africa 4, of the Norweigian and French governments in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 5, to that of Exxon Mobil in Liberia 6, and that of the Marange Fields in Zimbabwe 7, the picture of poor environmental governance in Africa is obvious. Except the needful is done by all stakeholders to evolve and pay by the rules of a virile regulatory framework to achieve excellent environmental governance, these pockets of menace across Africa will not only prove to be environmental hazards for the Africa continent but will sooner than later affect the sustainable environmental welfare of the global North and the world at large.
At present, the outlook of environmental governance in Africa is not a bright one. Regional sustainable governance needs to be put on the agenda in word and deed by all stakeholders in the interest of all humanity, their society and world – otherwise, an injustice to Africa, will soon become an injustice to all humanity!
- 1. Paris climate agreement has ‘failed’ poor countries, report says https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/paris-climate-agreement-report-oxfam-a7030446.html
- 2. UN staff pension fund mired in ‘dirty profits’ from firms guilty of rights abuses https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/apr/25/un-united-nations-staff-pension-fund-firms-rights-abuses
- 3. Nigeria: Amnesty activists uncover serious negligence by oil giants Shell and Eni https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/03/nigeria-amnesty-activists-uncover-serious-negligence-by-oil-giants-shell-and-eni/
- 4. “South Africa Protests Glencore Malpractices” http://www.industriall-union.org/south-africa-union-protests-glencore-malpractices
- 5. Norwegian and French Governments Threaten World’s Second Largest Tropical Rainforest https://www.globalwitness.org/en/press-releases/norwegian-and-french-governments-threaten-worlds-second-largest-tropical-rainforest/
- 6. Catch Me If You Can: Exxon Complicit in Corrupt Liberian Oil Sector https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/oil-gas-and-mining/catch-me-if-you-can-exxon-complicit-corrupt-liberian-oil-sector/
- 7. Diamond Trade Still Fuels Human Suffering https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/05/10/diamond-trade-still-fuels-human-suffering
Olubankole Daniel Olulana
AFRISCOPE is a bi-weekly column that addresses current policy issues and challenges on that border on the sustainable welfare and development of Africa and its peoples and the implications of such for the sustainable welfare and development of all humanity, their society and their world.
Olubankole Daniel Olulana is a governanace, management and media professional who likes to conduct research and consulting activities that revolve around policy and practice issues relevant to the sustainable governance and development of all humanity, their society and world. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org