“These challenges are even more pronounced in the case of multinational enterprises. An equally weak civil society is disabled from monitoring the level of compliance with environmental obligations and provide meaningful contributions to environmental policy formulation and management,” the Dutch-born Apostolic Nuncio said at the event that was held at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).
He said that while taxes play a role in environmental conservation, “taxes alone will not do the job.”
“World leaders must agree on stopping the expansion of fossil fuel exploration and manage a just transition to green energy under the proposed Fossil Fuel Non- Proliferation Treaty, while assuring access to electricity for everyone,” he said.
He highlighted the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) as one of the fossil fuel projects that would cause carbon and land degradation once completed and operationalized.
The 1,443-kilometer oil pipeline running from Hoima at the Lake Albert basin in Uganda to Tanga in Tanzania “is a big risk to the environment vis a vis the economic gains it is projected to produce,”
In his speech at the event organized under the theme, “Harmony for a Green Sustainable World: Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty for Justice and Peace”, Archbishop van Megen emphasized the need for he introduction of ecological education in schools to empower young people with environmental conservation knowledge.
“There is a growing need for ecological education in all institutions of learning to equip the youths with tools to curb the increasing effects of climate change,” the Vatican diplomat, who has been representing the Holy Father in Kenya since he was transferred from Sudan in February 2019 said.
He added, “As echoed in the just ended Africa Climate Summit: youths must play an integral role in environment policies making and their implementation.”
Leaders need to “recognize and invest in the youths for a smooth and continuous implementation of environmental policies,” the Vatican diplomat who started his service as Apostolic Nuncio to Sudan in March 2014 said.
Archbishop van Megen called upon the youth to change the world positively. He said, “Your youthfulness and skills are the greatest resources. You have to make this world a better place for you and for future generations. You can make a difference. Every step counts: Use your strength and abilities which God has given you and it will bear fruits.”