Ramaphosa Addresses UK Parliament on Climate Change, Urges Wealthy States to Make Up for ‘Harm Done’
10:09 GMT 23.11.2022 (Updated: 13:00 GMT 23.11.2022)
The South African president's two-day trip to the UK is the first official visit of a global leader since King Charles III ascended to the throne. On Tuesday, Rampahosa met with the monarch and addressed parliament. He is set to meet Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the United Kingdom’s House of Lords and House of Commons on Tuesday during his official visit
, with climate change one of the main topics.
Ramaphosa, who is considered the first foreign leader to visit the UK in the past three years in the wake of the 2019 COVID pandemic, called on Britain to “raise its voice in favor of more representative and more inclusive international bodies," including the United Nations Security Council and other global institutions.
Likewise, he urged it to "respond to the needs of countries with developing economies" and help address climate change effects in particular.
“Our world today is beset by conflict and instability, by poverty and inequality,” President Ramaphosa said addressing members of parliament. “We face the existential threat of a planet that is warming at a rate far faster than can sustainably be endured.”
He argued that the COVID-19 pandemic “exposed many of the fault lines within the global order," including inequality
within and between nations.
“Nowhere is the need to tackle inequality more important than in our response to climate change,” the South African leader stated. “Those countries that carry the least responsibility for global warming are most vulnerable to its effects. They do not have the resources needed to adapt to drought, floods and rising sea levels.”
Ramaphosa also said that it’s the industrialized countries’ responsibility to “contribute substantial resources” to low- and middle-income nations to fund their climate response, as these developing nations do not have the necessary resources for effective climate change action.
“This is not charity,” Ramaphosa pointed out. “It is compensation for the harm done – and the harm yet to be done – to people in developing economies as a consequence of the industrialization of wealthy countries.”
The African leader highlighted that as poorer nations seek to grow, industrialize and broaden their economies, their energy needs will grow as well and the chances they have to reduce emissions will "narrow."
Earlier this month during the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), the South African president criticized international institutions for making it difficult for developing countries to access aid to face climate change. He called for putting a “clear roadmap to deliver on the Glasgow decision to double adaptation financing by 2025."
During the Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Implementation Summit, which was a part of COP27, numerous African leaders shared their visions
of the continent's climate problems and its future, with Emmerson Mnangagwa, president of Zimbabwe, slamming western sanctions that are allegedly obstructing his nation’s climate efforts.
“Greater progress would be made on our climate goals were it not for the albatross of illegal economic sanctions imposed on our country. We demand the immediate lifting of these unwarranted and punitive sanctions,” Mnangagwa said addressing the summit.