Erasto Magamba Richards was one of the speakers at the Global faith event at COP26
I greet you all in the name of the Most High. My name is Magamba Richard Erasto, a youth delegate from Uganda and the Youth leader, Kampala Diocese, Church of Uganda.
I must say i’m exceedingly humbled to stand before this honorable gathering to briefly share thoughts that are representative of the youths across the globe in regards to climate justice
I come from Uganda, a country whose current debt burden is 52.4% of the national GDP (Source ;Bank of Uganda). Uganda like many countries in the global south is highly indebted. These countries excessively exploit their natural resources to clear off debt. Just last week as we attended COY16, the parliament of Uganda was debating the degassetment of three(3) forest reserves in Kayunga district including Wamale, Kiule and Bajo central forest reserve in the name of human settlement. This is a serious indictment to everyone of us seated here. We ought to have a global eye and condemn such activities in the strongest terms otherwise we may be seen to be paying lip-service to climate justice.
As we speak now, 48 countries are spending five times more on debt repayment than mitigating the devastating effects of climate change. Some have no choice rather than exploiting their natural resources to pay off the debts, exacerbating the climate crisis. Developed economies should ponder offsetting the debt from the highly indebted countries in exchange for climate change mitigation activities like afforestation lest we are doomed! There cannot be Climate justice without Debt justice!
It is important that this honorable gathering enforces the ecological debt owed by the rich countries to the many poorer countries. This in essence shall enhance carbon financing in areas where forestry can still be promoted for posterity.
We propose that this forum actualises existing climate finance commitments without delay. This shall raise the capacity of the respective environmnental protection infrastructure in the global south
Lastly, we propose that to make environmental protection a cardinal role of every citizen, the global political leadership should influence the incorporation of the subject of climate change in school syllabi right from the lower education levels throughout the academic ranks. Religious leaders also have a big role to play in the climate justice agenda. These should at all times remind their congregation of their obligation to protect the environment. Governments should also subside the alternative energy resources like electricityand gas to offset the use of firewood and charcoal burning.