In this series, activists from the Global South share their perspectives on Norway and rich countries’ role in sustainable development, and how civil society from around the world can stand together in the fight for a just and sustainable planet.
What has Norway and other wealthy countries’ role been in the past 30 years? Do they have a greater responsibility to contribute to a just global future than other countries?
I want to point out that the responsibility for a just global future requires cooperation and shared responsibility among nations. However, rich countries must lead by example in reducing their own carbon footprints while supporting developing nations in doing the same. Norway, as a large oil producer and exporter, must take more responsibility for its historical emissions that has led to global warming and climate change, affecting countries who have contributed the least to the green gas emissions. For most countries in the Global South like Malawi, whose economy depends in the agricultural sector, Norway’s actions has contributed to economic instability, food insecurity and poverty among other issues.
How does Norwegian policies affect sustainable development in your country?
Norwegian policies have a significant impact on sustainable development in Malawi across various sectors. Through the Norwegian climate and forest initiative, for instance, Norway has been supporting climate change mitigation in Malawi. Norway also promotes sustainable agriculture practices in Malawi, which enhance food production, security and contributes to poverty reduction in the country.
What can and should Norway and other countries in the global North do to ensure global justice, including climate and environmental justice, in the next 30 years?
Countries in the Global South must transition to renewable energy and shift from fossil fuels, as this will help reduce green gas emissions and combat climate change. These countries must also fulfil their climate financing commitments and scale up climate financing directed towards building sustainable developments. Norway should also take an active role in advocating for debt relief for countries who have increased debt burden in efforts to adapt to the effects of climate change. It’s ironic how rich countries who have climate and social debt give loans to countries who are suffering the consequences of their actions - instead of just providing the loans as aid to pay for the damages they are responsible for.
What can and should we as Norwegian civil society do to contribute to the needed changes for the future?
By building collaboration and partnerships at a global level, where they can invest their collective resources, knowledge, expertise and use diverse voices from different backgrounds to address complex challenges more effectively. They can also introduce exchange programmes to gain practical experience of the challenges faced in other regions. This will help both parties to come up with innovative practical solutions. The civil society organisations can also invest in capacity building which will empower the local people with knowledge on sustainably and advocacy. In this way, they will be able to advocate for policy changes that align with sustainable development goals in their communities. Civil society can also play a crucial role in monitoring government actions, policies, and projects to ensure transparency, accountability, and adherence to sustainable practices. I would like to commend the Norwegian civil society for their efforts in contributing to a sustainable future. Let’s be more innovative and proactive in addressing the global challenges to create a just world.
What are the largest challenges in your region when it comes to sustainability, climate change, human rights and global justice?
Countries in the Global South, like Malawi, are facing high levels of poverty and food insecurity, exacerbated by climate change. Recurring floods and prolonged droughts have led to reduced agricultural productivity and economic instability, as most economies depend on agriculture. Apart from that, many rural areas lack access to energy as they do not have reliable electricity services. This limits educational opportunities, economic growth prospects, and contributes to environmental degradation and soil erosion.