From April 23rd to 26th, 2023, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), represented by Olamide Martins, participated in a convening on Global Climate Reparations. The meeting, which held in Praia, Cape Verde, was organized by Taproot Earth, and drew a rich group of participants from 21 countries.
The convening offered a comprehensive programme with discourses focused on issues such as the progress of climate reparation demands, a collective analysis of viable and contextual climate and energy solutions proposed for the global south, and the nexus between revolution and climate change, among other issues.
As discussions progressed at the convening, participants acknowledged the diverse manifestations of climate change across the world, pointing out the lack of sufficient interventions from national governments and commonwealth managers. These manifestations include rising temperatures in parts of America and Europe, severe storms in the Middle East, enduring drought in the Sahel region, and coastal flooding. Colette-Pichon Battle, a Senior Executive at Taproot, emphasized the importance of immediate, intentional, sustainable, and locally derived strategies to tackle these urgent issues.
A prominent theme that arose during the discussion was the consensus that merely providing financial reparations is an insufficient approach to remedying long-term environmental damage. There was a widespread critique of the dominant paradigm which assumes monetary compensation alone can solve deeply entrenched climate problems. In truth, any conversation about reparations must consider broader systemic issues, such as ending the legacy of extractive colonial practices, preventing the blatant and persistent exploitation of resources by corporations, as well as the commodification of vulnerable and resource-rich communities in the Global South.
In this context, participants engaged in a deeper examination of various aspects of climate change responses – assessing the practicality and efficacy of identified measures, the role of governments in safeguarding the environment from abuse and degradation, the legacy of colonialism in resource extraction, and comparative benefits of mitigation versus adaptation in tackling climate change. These insightful exchanges underscored the complexities of addressing climate change, indicating that it is a multifaceted problem that requires equally diverse solutions.
During the convening, participants also visited the Centre of Renewable Energy and Industrial Maintenance (CERMI) of Cabo Verde, an avant-garde facility powered exclusively by solar energy and managed by local engineers. The centre is dedicated to meeting 100% of Cape Verde’s renewable energy requirement by 2030, and building capacities with different renewable energy technologies to minimize grid losses and maintain energy efficiency.
The brilliant meeting concluded with a group envisioning activity, where participants imagined and thought through new economic opportunities, innovative approaches to responding to climate change and ending the historical resource exploitation of the global south, among other issues. Attendees were also urged to persevere in the fight against environmental injustice and work to empower vulnerable communities to challenge corporate exploitation and commodification of their lands and resources. A final outdoor experience saw participants visit significant sites like the Slave Market on Bakutu Island, Amilcar Cabral’s Tomb and Museum, and the Madragoa community in Praia, to further understand the history and culture of Cape Verde.