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Irene Wabiwa rallies women to stand up to the bargaining of natural resources

Irene Wabiwa
Irene Wabiwa

Irene Wabiwa, the International Project Leader, Congo Basin Forest campaign, has rallied women “to stand up and say no to the bargaining of our natural resources which pollutes our environment and leads to food insecurity and disease.”

According to the environmental advocate, the wanton destruction of the ecology and biodiversity did not augur well for the development of humanity, especially the cause of women and their livelihood.

“I urge financial institutions and decision-makers around the world to shift their support from nature-destroying activities to community actions and sustainable alternatives that guarantee a better world,” she said.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the commemoration of the International Women’s Day, Ms. Wabiwa said the climate crisis had pushed women to work twice more to feed their families.

“The resources that were once a few meters from their house have disappeared due to the climate crisis and the extinction of biodiversity.

“The traditional medicine that was once within reach is now ten kilometers away or even non-existent, thus causing more deaths of women and or their children during childbirth,” she lamented.

On the future of Africa vis-à-vis the destruction of forest resources, the environmental advocate said: “The future of Africa is dark, very dark!”

“Unfortunately, African governments consider forests as a commodity that must be sold at all costs for economic income which, moreover, does not even lead to the development of their countries nor to the well-being of the populations, but for the benefit of a handful of people,” she noted.

This, according to her, had exacerbated the rate of deforestation, promoting corruption and violence against communities that dared to resist.

“Destructive projects are decided relentlessly, this is the case of the auction of 27 oil blocks made by the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and of which more than ten blocks straddle the protected forest areas and the peatlands which constitute one of the largest carbon sinks in the world,” Ms Wabiwa decried.

With such projects, she said, Africa and the entire world must expect unprecedented environmental disasters.
She indicated that, for more than a decade, Greenpeace Africa, an independent environmental campaign organisation, had been leading projects and campaigns to protect the forests of the Congo Basin, which was a vital resource for millions of women and their families.

“We make women aware of their rights and duties regarding the protection of the environment and we offer them a platform to make their claims known at the national and international level.

“We accompany women as well as men in the defense of their rights and in securing their ancestral lands against large-scale destructive activities and support them in the implementation of environmentally-friendly community activities,” the Greenpeace campaigner told the GNA.

She reiterated that as the world marked the International Women’s Day, the eyes of global decision-makers must also focus on all cases of violation of the rights of both rural and urban women.

“The commemoration of women’s day should lead to a world without unpunished violence against women in the world in general and Congolese in particular.

“Women are an important pillar in the fight against climate change and for a better future,” Ms. Wabiwa said.

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