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Media Awareness and Justice Initiative (MAJI), an APC member and independent media group based in Nigeria, is using new low-cost technologies to monitor air pollution. Photo: MAJI

APC welcomes the opportunity to comment on the study commissioned by the African Union on the impact of climate change on human rights in Africa, and feels that this study offers a very useful and thorough overview of key areas impacting the intersection of human rights and climate change on the continent, and is a call for action.

However, APC also believes that the study could be strengthened by contemplating the impact of the rapid digitalisation of many countries in Africa in the context of environmental sustainability, climate change and human rights.

The interrelationship between digitalisation and climate change has been pointed out by several multilateral forums and institutions. For example, in 2020 UN Secretary-General António Guterres identified both digitalisation and climate change as likely having the most serious impact on a sustainable future. Access to the internet is also recognised as a prerequisite for achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 13 on climate action, and is explicitly addressed in Goal 9c, to “strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020.”

Moreover, APC believes that the spirit of Articles 22 and 24 in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights can be enabled through the internet, and are best achieved through regulating the internet as a global public good, which has implications for environmental sustainability, and by adopting a circular economy approach to development and digitalisation.

Its comments on the study therefore contribute to its findings from this perspective.

Read the full submission here.