The initiative was supported by the Prime Ministers of Fiji and Antigua and Barbuda, who joined the discussions along with ministers from Zambia, Namibia and Uganda…reports Asian Lite News
Leaders from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific have expressed their strong support for a proposed ‘Living Lands Charter’ that will spur cooperation among 54 nations to manage land use sustainably, protect the natural world and fight climate change.
During a high-level event this week at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland reiterated a “call to action for living lands”, integrating the targets of the three Rio Conventions on biodiversity, climate change and desertification, which arose from the historic 1992 Rio Earth Summit.
She said: “The proposed Commonwealth Living Lands Charter seeks to catalyse the global political momentum for enhancing climate action, building resilience, reducing biodiversity loss, and arresting land degradation.”
Focus areas to be explored within the charter include climate resilient agriculture, soil and water conservation and management, sustainable green cover and biodiversity, and the active engagement of indigenous people.
The initiative was supported by the Prime Ministers of Fiji and Antigua and Barbuda, who joined the discussions along with ministers from Zambia, Namibia and Uganda.
HAKAINDE HICHILEMA, PRESIDENT, ZAMBIA: “Zambia is a proud member of the Commonwealth and we are delighted to associate ourselves with this important call. For us, the conservation of biodiversity, which constitutes our natural capital is critical to ensure we achieve our aspirations of ensuring a green economy and socio-economic development.”
Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, stated: “I commend the Secretary-General for the Living Lands initiative in which she and the Commonwealth are playing their part in ensuring that we protect our biodiversity and protect human civilisation.
“There is a need to accelerate implementation of the various initiatives so that we can contain global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. To do otherwise would be to fail small island states.”
Prime Minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, said: “We need not forsake prosperity to preserve our natural world. We can be excellent environmental stewards while we improve the standards of living for our people.
“The Rio Conventions reflect the commitment of all countries to preserve the global environment. Let’s meet that commitment now, with the courage to act.”
Executive Director of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, Ibrahim Thiaw, and Deputy Executive Director of the UN Convention on Biodiversity, David Cooper, also supported the Commonwealth’s Call for Action on Living lands, emphasising the need for collaboration and an integrated approach to achieve the targets set by the three Rio conventions.
To date, consultations on the proposed Living Lands Charter have been undertaken with 23 countries to garner support for initiative, alongside engagements at the regional level and with development partners.
These will continue with a view to receiving universal endorsement at the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), scheduled to be held in Kigali, Rwanda in 2022.