Belgian climate activist joins UNICEF mission to highlight unequal effects of climate change

Belgian climate activist joins UNICEF mission to highlight unequal effects of climate change
Anuna De Wever at COP26 in Glasgow. Credit: Anuna De Wever

Ahead of COP27 in Egypt in November, Belgian climate activist Anuna De Wever, alongside UNICEF, will join a delegation of African and European activists who will travel to South Sudan to highlight the unequal effects of climate change.

The mission aims to highlight the impact of the climate crisis in the Global South and to build bridges between regional climate movements in preparation for COP27.

The delegation, which will leave in mid-October and return on 18 November, aims to stress the fact that countries in the Global South that are the least responsible for climate change, such as South Sudan, suffer most heavily from its effects – from extreme weather conditions to starvation.

"South Sudan is one of the least responsible countries for global warming, but one of the most vulnerable to its impacts," De Wever said in a statement.

Extreme drought and the massive floods that plague South Sudan have currently left 8 million people (of which more than half are children) in acute humanitarian distress.

The trip is in preparation for COP27, where policies on "loss and damage" for countries that bear the brunt of the impact of global warming will be at the centre of discussions, and will mainly include talks about the responsibility of rich countries to allocate more resources for climate disaster mitigation and reduce emissions.

Building bridges

The delegation will work with local communities, activists and organisations in South Sudan to strengthen the country's delegation and position at COP27. Here, they will call for more international responsibility from the global North, which is liable for 92% of excess emissions.

"It is crucial that we build bridges internationally between climate and human rights movements to ensure that this is seen as a priority at COP27 in Egypt," De Wever urged.

She stated that, today, policymakers are still "very actively engaged in maintaining a system fundamentally built on the exploitation of people and the planet. It is therefore crucial that issues such as human rights, racism, colonialism and global justice are central to the climate debate."

For the trip, De Wever has looked at different routes but will have to travel by plane. "There is no alternative to travel to South Sudan from Belgium except for air travel," De Wever told The Brussels Times.

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"My impact as an activist at both COP27, where policymakers are going to be discussing my future and the future of the world, and part of the UNICEF delegation is more important than the individual decision to take a flight."

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