Commonwealth leaders have officially adopted the Living Lands Charter, which commits all 54 member countries to safeguarding global land resources while taking coordinated action on climate change, biodiversity loss and sustainable land management.
The non-binding agreement was announced today at the conclusion of the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, along with the final communiqué. It is the culmination of nearly two years of intense consultation, engagement and negotiation with member countries, United Nations Rio Conventions, and other relevant stakeholders.
Applauding the initiative, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, said:
“The Living Lands Charter: A Commonwealth Call to Action on Living Lands (CALL) is a testament to our commitment to the people of the Commonwealth, and to the Commonwealth principles of transparency, consensus, and common action.
“It helps to encapsulate our combined effort to hold the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C. It seeks to catalyse the global political momentum for enhancing climate action, building resilience, reducing biodiversity loss, and arresting land degradation.
“Our Call to Action on Living Lands seeks to propel sustainable land management by supporting the 54 Commonwealth member countries to prevent biodiversity loss and desertification while reducing emissions, enhancing resilience and promoting sustainable development.”
The Living Lands Charter recognises that the vulnerabilities of our ecosystems to land degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change are closely interrelated and need to be considered collectively.
It seeks to strengthen synergies and coordinated action at national, regional and global levels, of relevant actions under the three Rio Conventions — namely, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD); the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Secretariats for the three Rio Conventions have expressed their full support for the Charter.
Heads recognised the need of taking a principled approach to the Living Lands Charter and active cooperation with a range of partners to share knowledge, expertise, success stories, and good practices in sustainable land management, while incentivising investment flows and technological innovation.
They also underlined the critical guardianship provided by Indigenous peoples and local communities in protecting land and vital ecosystem services, and recognised the land and resource rights of these communities, in accordance with national law and international instruments.
All countries agreed to voluntarily dedicate a ‘Living Land’ in their respective country to the future generations, in line with the Strategy set for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
An implementation plan for the Charter will be developed and presented to members.
Climate change decisions
The Living Lands Charter was released alongside a final wide-ranging communiqué by leaders, including on specific items on climate change.
In the communiqué, heads underscored that the “urgent threat of climate change” exacerbates existing vulnerabilities and presents a significant threat to COVID-19 recovery efforts. Developing countries, least developed countries and small island developing states were particularly at risk of their development gains being reversed.
Heads renewed their commitment under the Paris Agreement to keep the rise in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius, also reflecting the Glasgow Climate Pact.
Leaders recognised that this requires “rapid, deep and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions”, including reducing global carbon dioxide emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 relative to the 2010 level and to net-zero around mid-century, as well as deep reductions in other greenhouse gasses.
They further recognised that enhanced support for developing country parties will allow for higher ambition in their actions.
Leaders deeply regretted that the goal of developed country parties to jointly mobilise US$100 billion per year by 2020 had not yet been met. They called on developed countries to fully deliver on the US$100 billion goal urgently and through to 2025 and emphasised the importance of transparency in the implementation of their pledges.
They welcomed the increased pledges made to date, including through the ‘Climate Finance Delivery Plan: Meeting the US$100 Billion Goal’.
Heads recognised the role of the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub in assisting developing country members with human and institutional capacity to mobilise climate finance for enhanced climate action, including through the development of bankable projects and robust climate policies, amongst other support.
Countries looked forward to working together with the global community to ensure true progress is made on climate action on the road to the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh.By Tricia Ishimwe, Tower Post
Tanzania’s dominant ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party has opened direct talks with main opposition CHADEMA party in effort to ease tensions that have threatened to tire down the country.
The two sides have been at war every election cycle. CHADEMA leaders have survived multiple assassination attempts, forcing them to flee the country especially under former President John Pombe Magufuli.
Immediately following the 2020 polls, the opposition leader Tundu Lissu had to be aided to leave the country by European embassies in a negotiated exit. The government was determined to put him behind bars, along with many of his colleagues.
Current President Samia Hassan Suluhu who took over in March last year following sudden death of Magufuli whom she had been deputizing.
The President immediately embarked on a reconciliation with Lissu, meeting him in Belgium early this year where they held face to face talks.
For years, the opposition has demanded for constitutional reforms to create level playing field during the elections that have been dominated by CCM for decades. The opposition accuses CCM of dominating all institutions that directly deal with elections.
It has emerged that CCM and CHADEMA have held direct talks twice recently to iron out their differences. It is something that had never been envisaged before.
CCM party’s head of ideology and spokesman Shaka Hamdu Shaka told the media on Wednesday that CCM was committed to constitutional reform and fully backed President Suluhu’s reconciliation efforts with the opposition.
The party spokesman was informing the country about deliberations of CCM’s National Executive Committee (NEC), the party’s told organ.
The NEC has directed the government to revise the process of writing a new constitution, saying the country needs reforms that would meet the current needs.
NEC said it is the ideal time for a new constitution and tasked the government to come up with the best practice to revise the constitutional reform process for the vested national interest and development.
NEC described President Suluhu as a “mature diplomat and outstanding politician” for her reconciliation initiatives.
“President Samia’s determination has proven to the country and the world that she is politically and diplomatically well versed especially for her guts to choose the political reconciliation path with opposition parties to unify the nation,” said the CCM spokesman.
Shaka said President Suluhu’s determination, boldness and vision to open up reconciliation doors has won hearts of the committee, saying the move will bring up political harmony for the betterment of the nation’s unity.
The CCM’s top organ also called for swift hearing and ruling of the political cases pending in various courts in order to bolster reconciliation and political stability.
The ruling party also vowed to maintain a fair playing field for all political parties, as a way of promoting reconciliation and cementing national unity. The Chronicles
Sonko failed to bring his original certified degree and stamped EACC clearance documents.
•Mombasa County Returning officer (RO) Swalhah Ibrahim disqualified Sonko from the race after he failed to bring his original certified degree and stamped Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) clearance documents.
•Swalhah also said the three-judge bench's decision to quash IEBC from disqualifying Sonko from vying, “did not order IEBC to clear Sonko from vying in Mombasa.”
There was a three-hour stand-off as former Nairobi governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko’s and his team vowed not to leave the Kenya School of Government (KSG) Mombasa without being cleared to vie for the governor's seat.
IEBC had pitched tent at KSG where they were clearing candidates for various elective seats.
Sonko arrived at the Mombasa KSG at 2:15 pm, accompanied by his running mate Ali Mbogo, who is also the current Kisauni MP and former Matuga MP Chirau Mwakwere and hundreds of supporters.
Sonko's ambitions to be elected the next Mombasa governor in the August 9 General Election hit a dead end after IEBC denied him clearance.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Mombasa County Returning officer (RO) Swalhah Ibrahim disqualified Sonko from the race.
She said sonko failed to bring his original certified degree and stamped Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) clearance documents.
Swalhah also said the three-judge bench's decision to quash IEBC from disqualifying Sonko from vying, “did not order IEBC to clear Sonko to vie for Mombasa Governor seat”.
The decision of the court (three-judge bench) had quashed what the IEBC chairman had said but did not order the IEBC to clear Sonko, the IEBC officer argued.
"In as much the High Court quashed the decision of the chairman as you say, it did not give or direct the commission orders to accept his papers. We stand by the chair’s decision. Sonko is blocked," said Swalhah.
Sonko’s lawyer Titus Kirui accused Swalhah of contempt of court, saying that she was going against the orders of a three-judge bench.
“You are an agent of IEBC, but will be held personally responsible for going against orders issued by a three-judge bench,” said Kirui.
Sawalha also argued that Sonko had breached Article 75 of the constitution.
However, Kirui argued that Sonko has not been charged for that, therefore Swalha cannot peg on it her decision to disqualify Sonko.
The RO directed Sonko and his team to seek reprieve from the IEBC Dispute Resolution Committee, which will be sitting from June 10-19.
"I am ready to stand with and defend my decision at that point," she has said. By Onyango Ochieng, The Star
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