Maputo stopped to discuss a secular problem which solution is slow to come. The goal is further and further away from countries, particularly the developed countries. The Mozambican government wants to develop a green economy which is less polluting to the environment. The question is: would have the will enough?
Many Mozambicans have used the final debate on the Rio +20 - held in Maputo on Wednesday (June 7) - to raise several questions about what concrete benefits the programmes focused on sustainable development will bring to the country. At present, many questions loom about how the Government intends to implement concepts such as green economy, sustainable energy for all and sustainable exploration of resources. The researcher of the Centro Terra Viva (Earth Alive Centre) Issufo Tancar, one of the speakers at the conference, wanted to know what incentives companies that invest in renewable energy would have over than those that do not. "We know that investment in clean energy is very expensive for the companies and, given this reality, what advantage would the industries that go for this kind of energy have, compared to those industries that continue to use fossil fuels, even from the perspective of taxes?” asked the investigator.
The Minister of Planning and Development, Aiuba Cuereneia, said that the incentives of the companies investing in clean or renewable energy will be generated by the market itself. Minister Cuereneia also argued that technical principles show that investment in renewable energy allows the long term recovery of the capital applied, because in the long run use of sources like the sun and wind that would not require large running costs unlike the use of petroleum, coal or natural gas.
The idea of a lack of concrete incentives for companies and individuals that make investments that take social and environmental well-being into consideration was replicated by a participant from Cabo Delgado province, who affirmed that there are companies that lose a lot of money on reforestation of vast areas due the practice of uncontrolled fires by local communities. In fact, this problem of uncontrolled fires is historical because the farmers insist in this technique to explore the areas, without, however taking due care.
On the other hand, a resident of the city of Maputo, Maria Fatima, said she is a "frustrated woman" because there are no conditions for the implementation of some good practices related to green economy, from the individual level up to the institutional level. "What I am saying is that I am a frustrated woman. Again, frustrated, because for twenty years I separate garbage putting the biodegradable one side, and recently one of my sons asked me why separating trash, since all goes to the same container (...). Now, I would ask the Minister Cuereneia and Deputy Minister for Environmental Coordination, Ana Chichava, are three containers more expensive than a Mercedez Benz car?" - asked Maria Fatima, before an audience that gave her a resounding applause.
More than difficulties related to people's awareness and lack of Mozambique institutional capacity to implement a sustainable development programme, the concept of green economy is especially a matter of financial capacity to invest in training and equipment that promote a green economy.
One of the issues raised at the Wednesday conference is the fact that the report on the activities undertaken in the last 20 years that Mozambique will present in Rio de Janeiro, under the United Nations sustainable development programme is already finished, however it has no contributions from the people in the document.
Moreover, the strategy that Mozambique brings to Brazil summarizes the challenges the country faces in agriculture, urban development and energy use. The most gain in these 20 years, according to the deputy minister for the Coordination of Environmental Action, Ana Chichava, is the fact that a ministry was created as along aside a legislative package that coordinates and regulates environmental issues in the country.
THAT WILL NOT BE ONE MORE CONFERENCE WITH THE WESTERN AGENDA
The conference of this Wednesday must culminate with a huge event on Sustainable Development to be hold in Rio de Janeiro, from 20 to 22 June this year. In the meanwhile, many Mozambicans are sceptical about decisions to be taken at this event, mainly related to reducing pollution levels, particularly by developed countries. "This is a yet another conference to distract people from the essential, which is the need of developed countries reducing gas emission levels; what happens is that the most developed pollute and the poor countries pay the bills" - pointed out Antonio Reina from a NGO called “Livaningo” organization. The idea of a pre-Rio +20 conference in Maputo was an initiative by the Government of Mozambique and the United Nations in partnership with the Millenium Bim (a private Bank) and SOICO (a private local media house).
O País Económico // Friday, 8 June 2012