The Declaration from the South Africa to Botswana Community to Community Coal Exchange: Building a common voice and solidarity in the resistance to coal

10th to 14th of September 2018

In the coal exchange hosted by the Botswana Climate Change Network and co-facilitated by groundWork, Friends of the Earth, South Africa, community environmental justice activists from communities affected by coal mining in Botswana and South Africa met in Palapye, Botswana, from the 10th to 14th of September 2018 to discuss the impacts of coal mining and coal-fired power stations in South Africa and Botswana and worked on the responses needed to address these impacts.

The objectives of the exchange were:

At the end of the deliberations, it was agreed that Africa and its resources are being plundered, people are being environmentally oppressed and their dignity as humans is being put in question.

The meeting also noted that the environment in the areas of mining activity has also been affected and destroyed drastically, contributing to environmental and climatic injustice. The meeting considered that Africa has been massively looted over the centuries and continues to suffer the severe impacts of resource exploitation and related conflicts.

The meeting also noted that there is further coal development targeted in Southern African region financed by the Japanese and Chinese banks and other various banking institutions, encouraging and promoting environmental degradation and increasing climate change impacts, which in turn affects people on the ground.

We understand that the long road to social and environmental justice requires the mass education of our people, as well as of the political decision makers on the real impacts and problems of mining, and the vigorous affirmation of our rights.

Based on the above injustices and human rights violations, the group made the following demands:

Finally, we demand from ourselves the commitment to continue building on our solidarity beyond South Africa and Botswana to the rest of Africa and to ensure that we speak truth to power and coal.