Campaign for Nature: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 April 2022:
On April 22, their Excellencies, Ernest Bai Koroma, former President of Sierra Leone, Hailemariam Desalegn, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, and Dr Ruhakana Rugunda former Prime Minister of Uganda, met with His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa.
The three visiting leaders are part of a Global Steering Committee that are partnering with world leaders to stop the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, which is currently happening at an unprecedented rate. They issued the following statement:
“When the meeting with His Excellency, President Ramaphosa, was scheduled, South Africa was not experiencing the tragic loss of life and infrastructure that has occurred as a result of recent flooding and fires.
“There are no words that can convey the sorrow and heartbreak we feel over this tragic disaster, and our deepest sympathies are with those who have lost their lives, homes, and their infrastructure. It is important to us that the people of South Africa know that we are united with them in grief and that it is felt in the hearts of all Africans and, indeed, all people of the world. We, therefore, feel honored that His Excellency, President Ramaphosa, could still meet with us, given the heartache and sorrow South Africa is currently feeling.
“The recent tragedies have made our discussion even more important and urgent. As His Excellency President Ramaphosa said, ‘These floods are a tragic reminder of the increasing frequency of the extreme weather conditions as a result of climate change.’ There is no doubt that what has happened here is yet another reminder that we must do something fast.
“We cannot solve our climate crisis and stop these natural disasters if we do not urgently move to protect and conserve more of the natural world. The destruction of ecosystems accelerates climate change and poses a grave threat to our ability to protect communities from severe weather and floods. In fact, one-third of solutions that will reduce global warming can be found in nature. This means that without nature, we cannot stop the disastrous trend that is causing natural disasters in Africa and across the globe.
“We, therefore, came to South Africa to discuss our shared passion with His Excellency, President Ramaphosa, because we acknowledge that as chair of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (Cahoscc), he is leading the effort to solve this crisis and South Africa is a leading country in terms of protected area management and biodiversity conservation.
“The science is very clear, if we do not increase our protected areas and fully commit to truly sustainable green development by 2030, we will lose over one million species. We must join together as global citizens to protect 30% of the planet by 2030.
“Everything we do from this day forward needs to be done in balance with nature. Without those one million species that are working to lessen the impact of climate change, we will not survive. Our continent, with its unique natural treasures, can lead the way to a sustainable future if we act now. We need to work together to save the planet and ourselves, and we need to do it now.”
His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma (former President of Sierra Leone)
His Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn (former Prime Minister of Ethiopia)
His Excellency Dr Ruhakana Rugunda (former Prime Minister of Uganda)
Envoys for the Campaign for Nature Global Steering Committee
Following the meeting His Excellency President Ramaphosa released this statement airing his support for the 30×30 goal and the protection of biodiversity. The Presidency’s official statement can be found here https://www.thepresidency.gov.za/press-statements/president-meets-members-global-steering-committee-campaign-nature
About Campaign for Nature
The Campaign for Nature works with scientists, Indigenous Peoples, and a growing coalition of over 100 conservation organizations around the world who are calling on policymakers to commit to clear and ambitious targets to be agreed upon at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming, China in 2022 to protect at least 30% of the planet by 2030 and working with Indigenous leaders to ensure full respect for Indigenous rights.