Environmental Justice

Welcome!  The African Legal Centre has chosen as Environmental Justice as an important human rights focus area.  In so doing, ALC endeavors to give shape to the idea of environmental justice, sometimes known as "environmental human rights" and closely linked with the concept of "environmental racism".  The South Africa-based Environmental Justice Networking Forum provides an excellent definition of environmental justice, which informed the creation and direction of the ALC's Environmental Justice Project:

The fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, incomes, and educational levels with respect to the development and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Fair treatment implies that no population should be forced to shoulder a disproportionate share of exposure to the negative effects of pollution due to lack of political or economic strength.

Keeping this in mind, we will focus on three areas of concern on the continent: extractive industry and natural resources; agriculture and land rights; and energy and climate change. A summary of each of these issues and how ALC hopes to address them follows below, along with links to case law and further reading.

Agriculture & Land Rights

Hunger in Africa has increased since 2007, at a rate of about 2 percent per year. There are ongoing debates in many countries: how food should be grown -- using biotechnology or organically; what food should be grown -- crops for domestic consumption or crops with high export value; and how corruption has led to increased hunger. Issues surrounding land rights -- who should have them, how these rights may be taken away, and what these rights encompass -- are also crucial to this topic. The ALC's Environmental Justice Project aims to provide insight into these debates and to bring together voices from around the continent and the world for easy access to information.

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Energy & Climate Change

Many people in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to energy. The ALC intends to inform readers of the discussions throughout the continent and around the world related to the provision of energy, whether this energy should be "clean" or derived from fossil fuels, and how Africa's energy consumption (or lack thereof) plays into the global climate change debate.

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Extractive Industries & Natural Resources

Extractive industries -- oil, gas, minerals -- have a long and troubled history on the continent. The ALC's Environmental Justice Project works to bring you updates on the extraction of natural resources in each of the 54 African countries. These updates will include human rights abuses linked (directly or indirectly) to resource extraction, as well as commentaries on the social and environmental harms that accompany mining, and discussions about the economic benefits and detriments of natural resource-dependent economies.

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Tweets by @ALC_JustEnviro

While you can turn to any of the links above for more focused research, we've collected a number of sources related to environmental justice in the links below, as well.