Maputo — Mozambique's Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development, Celso Correia, declared on Wednesday that collective and global action can lead to victories in the battle against the effects of climate change.
Speaking in Maputo, at the opening of the second International Conference on Climate Justice, Correia stressed that climate change was not just a passing fad, but a real problem that is having impacts on Mozambique.
“We are sure that on our own it will not be possible to attain the objectives we propose”, he said, adding that he regarded the country's participation in last year's United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 21) in Paris, as the first step towards attaining environmental sustainability.
He warned that Mozambique's natural heritage is coming under attack from various directions, including not only poaching, and illegal logging, but also the persistence of slash and burn agriculture, which destroys native forests, and the use of charcoal as the main cooking fuel for much of the population.
Correia added that the greatest contribution Mozambique could make against climate change would be to halt the devastation of its forests. Defending the country's forests, he said, is “a national and international imperative”.
He warned that climate change leads to extreme weather events. These are becoming more frequent in Mozambique and result in the loss of human life and incalculable economic damage.
Anabela Lemos, director of the Mozambican branch of the NGO Environmental Justice, said that the long march to climate justice demands the massive education of societies and of political decision makers about the causes of the current climate crisis, and a vigorous affirmation of real alternatives.
“We recognise that, as the climate deteriorates, so resources will become more scarce and migrations will increase, which will cause more conflicts between peoples”, said Lemos.