The president of the National Assembly, Carolina Cerqueira, last week in Port Louis, Mauritius, called for increased cooperation between states to mitigate the impact of climate change and its effects on poor countries.
Speaking at the opening of the 54th Plenary Assembly of the Parliamentary Forum of the Southern African Development Community, Carolina Cerqueira stressed that one cannot forget, in this arduous task, the island countries that face specific difficulties, such as geographic isolation and its structural consequences, with direct impact of climate change resulting from tsunamis, earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters.
She called for reflection on the principle of cooperation between countries in the region, which requires the commitment of all parties concerned to adopt integrated legislative measures that prevent calamities resulting from climate change, mitigate their impact and contribute to the recovery of the region and lasting development.
For the parliamentarian, the environment knows no borders, neither do climate changes and their consequences, considering, for this reason, it is imperative that SADC member states are able to cooperate so that, in respect for the sovereignty of each one, they can approve legislation that achieves the common goal of environmental recovery, disaster prevention and preservation of the human species.
By the way, she highlighted the involvement of parliaments, as guardians of the legal guidelines of the process and monitors the implementation of national and supra-state instruments by the respective Executives.
“May we be perceptive in making decisions at the legislative level in this regard, and I reaffirm that Angola will be strongly committed to promoting the approval of legislation that materializes the integrated and harmonious conservation of the environment of the countries in the region and programs that mitigate the risk of calamities resulting from climate change’, she said.
In this way, she defended the intensification of criminal and civil liability measures for those who, in the desire for easy profit, violate current environmental protection standards, against nature and the ecosystem of flora and fauna.
In another area, Carolina Cerqueira advocated a reflection on the role of parliaments in the search for solutions for the social progress and well-being of the countries of the community because, in her opinion, caring for humanity requires preserving nature and placing it at the center of political decisions and legislative agendas.
“Concerns with political, economic and budgetary issues prompt us to address the importance that the environment has for economic-social development, remembering that the SADC Parliamentary Forum has, among its objectives, to promote peace, security , the stability and sustainable development of the States that comprise it, whose cornerstone is the guarantee of the existence of an ecologically balanced environment”.
She added that development cannot be consolidated without security and there cannot be security where human beings do not have sufficient food, drinking water, basic sanitation, arable land, which allow them to survive without having to abandon their homes, an increasingly frequent scenario in nowadays due to the impact of climate change and natural calamities, drought, desertification, scarcity of water resources that generate migratory crises and often fuel conflicts between states and peoples.
In fact, she said, there is an urgent need to materialize the commitments made to protect the environment, with the relevance that international law attributes, as a collective good, heritage of all humanity and responsibility of each person.
From her perspective, this is a transversal responsibility that requires effective collaboration from the entire international community, as it results from imperative norms of international public and humanitarian law that are so necessary today and binding on all States.
Carolina Cerqueira stressed that, as parliamentarians, it is time to look around, listen to the message that nature is transmitting and do more and better, for the self-preservation of life and the ecosystem.
The official drew attention to three fundamental principles for human survival, namely solidarity, which means putting into action efficient instruments capable of uniting the fight against environmental degradation and poverty, such as the development and transfer of technologies appropriate, capable of making the best use of human, natural and socioeconomic resources, most accessible at local level, in order to guarantee long-term, inclusive sustainability.
She also mentioned the principle of justice, recalling the existence of an ecological debt, between developed countries and less developed ones, which obliges the former to contribute to resolving this debt, significantly limiting the consumption of non-renewable energy and providing resources so that countries most in need develop and consume it equitably.
“Our countries contain some of the most important natural reserves on earth and, meanwhile, we continue to fuel the progress of the richest countries at the expense of the deterioration of our environment, with a devastating impact on the quality of life of our people. Unfortunately, the world’s growth in the last two centuries has not meant, in all its aspects, true integral progress. Certain limits to the exploitation of the planet have already been exceeded, without countries having resolved the problem of poverty and millions of our people live in a situation of misery and worrying vulnerabilities.
For the National Assembly Speaker, pollution and global warming resulting from the consumption of some rich countries have had repercussions on the poorest places on earth, especially on the African continent, causing conflicts, mass migration of personnel necessary for development, violence and exploitation such as drought and desertification, hunger, family disintegration and other blatant violations of human and people’s rights.
The Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) was established in 1997 in accordance with Article 9 (2) of the SADC Treaty as an autonomous institution of the region.
It is a regional inter-parliamentary body made up of 15 parliaments, representing more than 3500 parliamentarians in the Southern African region.