OXFAM: Championing Bold Climate Action at COP28: Calls for a Just and Equitable Energy Transition and Enhanced Climate Finance
29 November 2023
Johannesburg, South Africa — As the world converges for the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at Expo City, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a crucial gathering in the fight against climate change, Oxfam stands at the forefront of advocating for transformative climate actions that place communities at the forefront of decisions.
This year’s summit takes place at a critical time and holds immense global significance. It also marks a pivotal moment for nations to align their climate actions with the urgent need to address escalating climate impacts.
Climate change has caused alarming and extreme weather patterns, unprecedented rising sea levels, and irreversible impact on biodiversity and ecosystems. These trends are projected to dramatically intensify. Along with this, agricultural productivity, for example, has been severely undermined, affecting millions of populations who continue to experience food insecurity and cyclical destitution.
We are confronted with a dire situation for the world’s roughly 500 million smallholder farmers, a significant number of whom are women. These farmers depend on agriculture for their sustenance and livelihood. The ‘Climate Equality: A Planet for the 99%’ report, recently published by Oxfam, warns that the consequences for these communities will be devastating.
Meanwhile, a stark contrast in wealth distribution is evident. While numerous individuals grapple with the challenges of droughts, floods, crop failures, and hunger, wealth disparity continues to grow. In the United States, the wealthiest 1% control 54% of the country’s stocks, while in South Africa, this figure is over 95%. Across all Southern African Development Community (SADC) nations, the top 1% command more than 14% of their countries’ national incomes. Notably, the collective wealth of the five richest men in the SADC region – three in South Africa and one each in Tanzania and Zimbabwe – surged from $13.5 billion in March 2020 to $16.7 billion by September 2021.
This situation places agricultural workers, Indigenous and Black communities, and feminist groups at the epicentre of dual battles. They are tirelessly striving to safeguard land, natural resources, and our planet, while also championing women’s labour rights and confronting pervasive gender-based violence.
Furthermore, the shrinking civic spaces, crucial to the health of democracies, pose an additional challenge. These vital spaces are under threat as governments, corporations, and various anti-feminist and anti-environment lobbies intensify their efforts against these progressive movements.
To address this, bold climate action at COP28 are required and at the centre of these, should be equitable energy transition and enhanced climate finance.
Lebogang Ramafoko, Executive Director of Oxfam South Africa, emphasizes, “At COP28, our focus is unambiguous. We demand a full and fair phase-out of fossil fuels and a tripling of renewable energy capacity by 2030. This is not just an environmental imperative but a moral one. Wealthier nations, historically the largest polluters, must lead and support others in this equitable transition. Our plans should integrate gender-transformative justice and sustainability safeguards, addressing energy poverty head-on.”
Nkateko Chauke, Oxfam Director of Programmes, adds, “Climate finance should be the linchpin of climate action. Developed countries have fallen short of their $100 billion annual climate finance commitment, undermining trust and progress. We call for reaching and exceeding this goal with more grants, fewer loans, and doubling adaptation finance. The New Collective Quantified Goal for post-2025 must focus on need-based, inclusive, and accountable approaches.”
Oxfam South Africa is also supporting the establishment of a comprehensive Loss and Damage Fund (LDF). “The LDF must be inclusive, representative, and centred on grant-based financing for both economic and non-economic losses, empowering local communities and marginalized groups,” says Ms Ramafoko.
In addition, as COP28 addresses the Global Stocktake, Oxfam South Africa raises the bar for ambition. “We advocate for a global agreement that prioritizes equity in the transition to clean energy. Wealthy countries must lead the fossil fuel phase-out and provide substantial support for developing countries,” says Ms Chauke. “Our aim is a target of 1.5 terawatts of renewable energy, aligned with the 1.5°C temperature limit, ensuring universal access to clean, affordable energy.”
Oxfam South Africa is not just a voice but a vanguard in the call for gender and climate justice. “We , advocate for policies that are not only inclusive but are led by diverse groups including women, Indigenous Peoples, and youth,” adds Ms Ramafoko. “We reject maladaptive solutions and emphasize a care-centred climate justice approach.”
As part of the Agriculture and Food Systems sector agenda at COP28, Oxfam South Africa pushes for equitable actions in food system transformations. “We support initiatives like the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM4C) but stress the importance of including Civil Society Organizations and affected communities in these discussions. It’s not just about technological solutions; it’s about equitable and sustainable actions that truly address the needs of the most vulnerable,” says Ms Chauke.
Oxfam South Africa’s stance at COP28 is clear: equitable, just, and transparent climate actions, tangible and enforceable commitments from developed nations, and an unwavering commitment to gender and climate justice.
Notes to Editors
The following Oxfam representatives will be participating in the deliberations at COP28 in Dubai:
- Ms Lebogang Ramafoko
Ms Ramafoko is the Executive Director at Oxfam. Ms Ramafoko has a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard and 28 years’ experience in the development sector, 13 of those at Chief Executive level. Ms Ramafoko is a pioneer of behaviour-change-communications related to sexual and reproductive rights and health and in using television as a tool for social justice communication on gender-based-violence.
- Ms Nkateko Chauke
Nkateko Chauke is the Programmes Director at Oxfam South Africa. Ms Chauke is a social justice activist that is committed to advancing social justice and social transformation and has worked for over 12 years in the sector at the intersection of economic justice, governance, climate and sustainability initiatives.
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