Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Online Letter
Dear friends and fellow South Africans,
The Kyoto Protocol, established under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, places obligations on certain developed countries to reduce their carbon emissions. The commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is set to expire in 2012. One of the key aims of COP17/CMP7 is to secure a renewed commitment.
There will be many competing interests represented at COP17/CMP7, which begins in Durban on Monday. One of the focus areas will therefore be equity, to ensure that countries with different capabilities make a fair contribution towards slowing climate change and enhancing adaptation.
For South Africa, adaptation is a critical aspect of the climate change debate. Our people are vulnerable to the consequences of climate change, which are more devastating in areas of poverty. Subsistence farmers are particularly at risk, for droughts, flood and even changes in the rainfall pattern will affect their yield.
We have all been moved, and shocked, by images of destroyed homes and destitute families in the wake of an increasing number of extreme weather events, from bizarre tornadoes to flooding to fires. To a great extent, we feel helpless. Faced with the overwhelming consequences of climate change, there is little comfort in planting a tree, recycling and saving electricity.
While doing these things is necessary and important, it feels as though there is a chasm between what we can do as individuals and what we are up against as the human race. To a Christian, there is something very familiar about this image. I am not surprised that men and women of faith have chosen to step into the gap.
This Sunday, people of faith from across the world will gather at King's Park Stadium in Durban, ahead of COP17/CMP7. They will call on world leaders to put reverence for life ahead of national and economic self-interest. They will call for a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, a commitment to a fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement, and clear targets for carbon emission reduction.
Through this rally of the Southern African Faith Communities' Environment Institute, representatives of many faiths will demand adequate finance for adaptation in Africa. This will require historically polluting nations to recognize their ecological debt.
South Africa's Deputy President, our Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, and our Minister of Environmental Affairs will be present to hear the petition of faith leaders on this critical matter. I am honoured to be joining them, both as a leader who needs to hear this message, as well as a man of faith who needs this message heard.
I encourage you, if you are able, to attend this climate rally, to lend your voice to the many who understand that our people, our planet and our Creator require our action. If you, like me, feel there is not enough we can do as individuals to secure the future, I ask you to join hands and make a collective effort.
Sunday's rally is one way of bridging the chasm.
To add your signature to the petition of the Southern African Faith Communities' Environment Institute, visit www.wehavefaithactnow.org
Yours in the service of the nation,
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
Ms Liezl van der Merwe
Press Officer to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
082 729 2510