Lumumba Di-Aping: Africa’s Hero At The Climate Conference

May 14, 2014
4 mins read

“We have been asked to sign a suicide pact, an incineration pact, in order to maintain the economic domination of a few countries. It’s a solution based on values that funneled six million people in Europe to furnaces”. These were the concluding remarks from Lumumba Di-Aping, the Sudanese negotiator for the group of 132 developing countries, known as the G-77, at the end of the Copenhagen Climate conference. The outcome of that meeting, he also described as “a gross violation of the traditions of the United Nations”. Lumumba Di-Aping said the deal struck by President Barack Obama, China and South Africa, locked poor developing countries “into a cycle of poverty forever”. Di-Aping said that “Obama has eliminated his differences with [George W.] Bush; asking “what is Obama going to tell his daughters? That their [Kenyan] relatives’ lives are not worth anything? It is unfortunate that after 500 years-plus interaction with the West we [Africans] are still considered ‘disposables’”. “My good friends…we’ve got to get together and fight the fight”.


Who is Lumumba Di-Aping? Lumumba Stanislaus-Kaw Di-Aping is a Sudanese diplomat, and according to Wikipedia, he is the chief negotiator for the developing countries at the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009, in Copenhagen. He was chosen because the Republic of Sudan currently chairs the Group of 77. Di-Aping is described as an “Oxford-trained radical economist, who not only matches the media spin of western countries, but was also partly behind George Soros’s plan to use hundreds of billions of dollars of IMF special drawing rights (SDRs), to finance the deal.


Lumumba Di-Aping was highly critical of the so-called “Danish Text” that had proposed to keep average global temperature rises to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial level. He suggested at a meeting of African delegates to the Conference a couple of slogans: “One Africa, one degree” and “Two degrees is suicide”, following which a demonstration was organized in the conference centre using these slogans. Earlier at the 2009 Bangkok climate change conference, Di-Aping also matter-of-factly, stated that “developed countries have a massive leadership deficit. It is now up to their leaders to intervene and give direction to the negotiations rather than waste everyone’s time”.


Di-Aping has been criticized by some as being “more disingenuous than candid in his bluster” and even “hyperbole-prone” by some others, but not a few observers of the politics of climate also accept that Di-Aping is a “clear, credible voice…articulating the frustration of so many”. When Di-Aping addressed 100 African civil society representatives and a handful of African parliamentarians, he began dramatically by crying, and was reported to have put his head in his hands, saying “We have been asked to sign a suicide pact”. The Australian journalist, Derek Barry, said while Di-Aping might have milked the occasion, his analysis was spot on; “he said a global increase of 2degrees meant 3.5degrees for much of Africa. This was ‘certain death for Africa’ and a type of ‘climate fascism’ imposed on the continent by high carbon emitters”. Africa was being asked to sign an agreement that would allow this warming in exchange forUS10billion, and that Africa was also being asked to ‘celebrate’ this deal. “I am absolutely convinced that what Western governments are doing is NOT acceptable to Western civil society”, Lumumba Di-Aping had concluded.


Lumumba Di-Aping led the biggest of the conference when he led a walkout by the G-77-China Group who had become increasingly frustrated by the lack of action by the West and the USA. It became obvious that Western delegates and media became increasingly frustrated and furious at the conference was apparently “hijacked’ by someone they thought was “an uppity nobody” from the Third World. Toronto’s GLOBE AND MAIL called him “an ill-chosen voice from Khartoum”, in order to tar him negatively by association with the Sudanese government. The dig was a false one because Lumumba Di-Aping was not representing the Sudanese government, but 130 nations who have not created climate change but who suffer and will suffer most from its consequences.


There were other critical observers who seemed to corroborate the views canvassed by Lumumba Di-Aping; take THE GUARDIAN of London columnist, George Monbiot, he wrote that “Lust as George Bush did in the approach to the Iraq war, Obama went behind the backs of the UN and most of its member states and assembled a coalition of the willing to strike a deal that outraged the rest of the world. This was then presented to poorer nations without negotiation. Either they signed it, or they lost the adaptation funds required to help them survive the first few decades of climate breakdown”. To produce the flawed deal, the US and its allies, in the words of Ghali Hassan, the independent Australia-based writer, played the “divide and coerce” card, manipulating and buying off a few nations to back their action. “With South African stooges and Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi at hand, unity among African nations proved to be fragile to stop the few who are willing to participate in Western-orchestrated ecocide”.


Even the world’s leading climate scientist, the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and professor of Atmospheric Science at Columbia University in New York, was not unhappy that the Copenhagen conference ended in failure. He told Amy Goodman that “They [Western politicians] were talking about having a cap-and-trade-with-offsets agreement, which is analogous to the Kyoto Protocol, which was disastrous. Before   the Kyoto Protocol, global emissions of carbon dioxide were going up one-and-a-half percent per year. After the accord, they went up three percent per cent year. That approach simply won’t work”, he said. “We need an honest agreement which addresses the fossil fuels problem. And unless we address that and put a price on [greenhouse gas] emissions, we can’t solve the problem”. These were the fundamental issues which Lumumba Di-Aping provided leadership for as the voice of the developing countries. He ruffled the feathers of the entrenched interests of the Western world but he came across very forcefully and in an enlightened manner, as a champion of the developing countries. As the Australian Journalist Derek Barry noted, “Lumumba Di-Aping is a hero and one who […] shame[d] the West into hearing the truth of climate change as seen from the perspective of the poor”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Don't Miss