President Cyril Ramaphosa is first head of state to be hosted for state visit by King Charles III
Industrialized nations should contribute substantial resources to low- and middle-income countries to fund their climate actions, South Africa’s president said Tuesday.
Addressing the British Houses of Parliament during the start of his two-day state visit, Cyril Ramaphosa said countries that carry the least responsibility for global warming are the most vulnerable to its effects.
“They do not have the resources needed to adapt to drought, floods and rising sea levels,” he said.
“This places a responsibility on industrialized nations to contribute substantial resources to low- and middle-income countries to fund their climate actions.”
Ramaphosa said the contributions should not be seen as charity but rather compensation for the harm done – and the harm yet to be done – to people in developing economies as a consequence of the industrialization of wealthy countries.
“We greatly appreciate the commitment of the United Kingdom to the implementation of a just energy transition in South Africa,” he said.
Ramaphosa said he is pleased that the final outcomes of the recent UN climate change conference COP27 held in Egypt hold out the promise of concerted action to address climate change.
He also said that unless the world acts with urgency and purpose to close the gap between the wealthy and the poor, hardship and suffering will only deepen.
Ramaphosa said the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the huge disparities in wealth, power and technology and health capacity.
“Therefore, as we work to rebuild in the wake of the pandemic, it is essential that we address the inequality within and between nations.”
He said if inequality is not addressed, then instability, conflict and terrorism will increase.
“We need to address the deficiencies in access to education, healthcare, safe water, sustainable energy and economic opportunity if we hope to end the poverty that is handed down from one generation to the next.”
Opportunity to reinvigorate ties
Ramaphosa is the first head of state to be hosted for a state visit by King Charles III since his inauguration.
Ramaphosa said his state visit is an opportunity to reinvigorate the ties of commerce, trade and investment between South Africa and the UK.
“The United Kingdom is the largest foreign investor in South Africa and the country’s fifth largest export destination,” he said, adding that over the last two decades, the UK has been South Africa’s largest source of tourist visitors outside of Africa.
Ramaphosa said a strong partnership between South Africa and the UK could make a significant contribution to multilateralism and the achievement of consensus on critical global issues.