Injustices and Extractivism’: Africa Advocates for Fair Extraction of Minerals Used in Clean Energy

The sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly is taking place from February 26 to March 1 in Nairobi, Kenya. The conference “sets the global environmental agenda, provides overarching policy guidance, and defines policy responses to address emerging environmental challenges,” according to the UN.

African officials are advocating for tighter regulations on the extraction of minerals and metals required for the shift to clean energy, citing concerns about the “injustices and extractivism” of fossil fuel operations.

A resolution for structural reforms to enhance the fair distribution of benefits from extraction, supported by a group primarily composed of African nations such as Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, and Chad, was introduced at the UN environmental assembly in Nairobi on Wednesday. The proposal emphasized the need for sustainable use of transitional minerals.

“This resolution is crucial for African countries, the environment and the future of our population,” Jean Marie Bope, a delegate from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which supported the resolution, was quoted as saying by the media.

As the world moves away from fossil fuels, the demand for transitional minerals and metals needed to build solar power plants, wind farms, and electric vehicles, has been increasing. The UN Environment Programme estimates that billions of tonnes of transitional minerals would be needed in the next 30 years to meet climate targets. And Africa has significant deposits of these key minerals.

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