1. TotalEnergies human rights report denies reality on the ground

Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies, entrusted Jean-Christophe Rufin in December 2022, on behalf of the partners of the Mozambique LNG project, with an independent mission to assess the humanitarian situation in the province of Cabo Delgado where the project is located. The report was released on 23 May 2023. Civil society in Mozambique (OMR and CDD) almost immediately expressed criticism of the report.

The report recalls that the conflict in the province of Cabo Delgado has origins pre-dating the gas development projects and finds its roots in multiple factors not related to Mozambique LNG, denying the fact that the insurgency began shortly after the discovery of LNG, and the fact that IDP’s have consistently been saying that the presence of mineral wealth is the cause of the conflict. The report assesses the humanitarian operations and the socio-economic development programs undertaken by Mozambique LNG around the Afungi site since 2021. It notes an improved humanitarian situation in the north of Cabo Delgado, in particular with the return of the populations displaced by the conflict to the town of Palma and to a lesser degree to the town of Mocímboa da Praia. The report denies the reality of ongoing violent clashes in Macomia, Muidumbe and Nangade Districts. During a visit to Nampula Province in May 2023, DHPI found that many IDP’s who had returned to Cabo Delgado when humanitarian assistance was stopped in January, have come back, citing ongoing attacks and the total destruction of all infrastructure in their places of origin in Cabo Delgado. There is not much evidence of the humanitarian operations and socio-economic development that Rufin cites.

The report highlights the execution quality of the actions undertaken by Mozambique LNG and their positive impact on the living conditions of local population. However it recommends the establishment of a dedicated structure with increased resources to further expand these programs and to integrate them into an ambitious and sustainable strategy of local development covering the whole province, and not only guided by the security of the project site. Rufin ignores the fact that the absence of any positive socio-economic benefits to local communities is one of the main factors fuelling resentment. It also ignores the fact that a “dedicated structure” has already been created, with no discernible effect.

Established in 2020, Mozambique’s North Integrated Development Agency (ADIN), an agency that works across government departments, seeks to boost economic development in Cabo Delgado, Niassa and Nampula under four main pillars: humanitarian assistance, economic development, community resilience and communication. As with most government structures, in the three years it has existed, ADIN has brought little tangible benefit to local communities.

Regarding the populations affected by the development of the Afungi industrial site, Jean-Christophe Rufin recommends several avenues of improvements to finalize in the best conditions the implementation of the resettlement plan and ensure the compensation of affected persons in accordance with the best practices. These improvements relate in particular to the update of the inventories of the affected persons’ assets, the payment timeline of compensations, the provision of agricultural land and the access to fishing areas. This would be positive, if it is in fact implemented.

Having considered the report and the recommendations made by Jean-Christophe Rufin, all Mozambique LNG partners have approved the following action plan:

– Mozambique LNG shall establish a dedicated Foundation for the implementation a socio-economic development program covering the whole territory of the Cabo Degaldo province, as part of a consistent and sustainable development strategy. The action of the Foundation will be guided by an objective of shared prosperity in the province, without waiting for the revenues expected during the production phase of the project. In order to sustain its action, this Foundation will be provided with a multi-annual budget of US$200 million. The Foundation will be headed by a recognized figure in the field of local economic development and overseen by a Board of Directors including representatives of Mozambique LNG and of the civil society. Its actions will be conducted in a coordinated manner with the activities carried out by the other development stakeholders present in the Cabo Delgado province. This Foundation will act under the name of “Pamoja Tunaweza” (“together we can” in Kiswahili).

– Regarding the populations affected by the development of the Afungi industrial site, the following actions will be implemented:

• The relocation and compensation process will be audited to identify the corrective actions to be implemented.

• The resettlement of the Quitupo village residents will be finalized without delay. To that end, Mozambique LNG will complete the construction of the new Quitunda village houses by the end of the Summer 2023. All Quitunda houses shall be equipped with access to solar energy.

• The inventories of the assets of the populations affected by the project and subject to compensation (constructions, land plots and plantations) will be updated, to ensure that compensations fully reflect the current situation of these assets.

• The payment of compensations to families affected by the project will be accelerated. A taskforce shall be set up together with the Mozambican authorities to enable all families to obtain, by the end of the summer in 2023, the legal documents required to receive the payments due to them.

• Access of local communities to agricultural areas will be facilitated and enlarged. Given that the Mozambique LNG industrial facilities do not occupy the entire land area granted by the Government of Mozambique, a surface of about 2,000 hectares located in periphery of the site will be made available to local communities for agricultural activities.

• Individual transportation means will be provided to the fishermen resettled in Quitunda, to facilitate their access to the various fishing areas. Moreover, the report notes that the security situation in the north of Cabo Delgado has evolved positively in 2022 and recommends reviewing the framework of relations between Mozambique LNG and the Mozambican Defense Forces in light of this situation. Mozambique LNG has started a dialogue with the Mozambican authorities to this end. Finally, a follow-up mission to monitor the implementation of this action plan will be carried out by Jean-Christophe Rufin at the request of Mozambique LNG project partners. The complete report can be found at Mozambique_LNG_report.pdf (totalenergies.com)

 


 

2. EU export credits insure decades of fossil-fuel in Mozambique

European governments are phasing out fossil fuels at home, but continuing their financial support for fossil megaprojects abroad. This is despite the EU agreeing last year to decarbonise export credits — insurance on risky non-EU projects provided with public money by an export credit agency (ECA). EU member states have so far failed to translate this into policy, leaving the door open to finance polluting projects in the Global South. With this work still to be done, it is now up to the upcoming Spanish EU presidency, starting in July, to finish the job.

The presidency will need to act fast. In 2011 and 2012, Africa’s largest natural gas deposits were discovered off the coast of Mozambique. Three massive on and offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects have since been developed by international oil companies such as TotalEnergies, Eni and ExxonMobil — supported by governments in Europe as well as the United States through their ECAs. A multi-million export credit insurance for the last of these three projects, Rovuma LNG, is currently under consideration by Italy’s export credit agency SACE, despite gas developments in Mozambique sparking violent conflict, displacement and lost livelihoods within local communities. Rovuma will further undermine Mozambique’s transition to renewable sources of energy and lock the country in a fossil system from which it does not benefit.

Insuring projects like this is a blatant contradiction of Europe’s climate ambitions and its promises to decarbonise ECAs. European governments should be the first to redirect public finance towards renewables, instead of continuing support for fossil-fuel projects abroad. Export credits are an important international trade policy tool, used to support European enterprises doing business abroad. They are issued by governmental institutions and provide insurance against risks of non-payment for large or risky projects. Without this support, many large infrastructure projects such as those in Mozambique would not go ahead. Until recently, it was mostly fossil-fuel energy projects that benefited from this support. Between 2015 and 2020, support for fossil fuel projects by the ten largest European export credit agencies amounted to €30bn — including those by oil giants such as Italy’s Eni and France’s TotalEnergies.

The world’s richest economies provided seven times more export credit support for fossil-fuel projects than for clean energy in 2019-2021. This stands in stark contrast to the recommendation by the IPCC and IEA that financial support for new fossil fuel projects must end immediately to keep the 1.5°C climate target within reach. Following a breakthrough pledge at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, in March 2022 under leadership of the French EU presidency member states acknowledged the necessity of decarbonising export credits. They recognised that this also meant phasing out public support for fossil fuel projects. To do this, they agreed to come up with what they claimed to be ‘science-based’ deadlines for ending export credit support for fossil fuel energy projects by the end of 2023. Sadly, they are not yet on track. As SACE’s potential support for LNG projects in Mozambique shows, European countries’ climate commitments are sliding down an oily slope. Some EU member states have presented their phaseout plans — of varying quality — such as France, Spain and the Nordic countries. But Germany and Italy are trying to stall and frustrate the process while central and eastern European countries remain silent.

What emerges is an uneven playing field within the EU, where some countries and businesses have made the leap forward towards a green and sustainable European future, while others lag behind. This creates unfair competition, an unpredictable and patchy regulatory environment for businesses and forces more ambitious countries to slow down their transition as well. This is an opportunity for the upcoming Spanish presidency of the European Council. The presidency should remind member states of their commitments and make sure they develop and publish fossil fuel phase-out policies for their export credit agencies before the 2023 deadline. These policies should be demonstrably in line with scenarios projecting a 1.5°C rise in global temperatures and not be based on false solutions and unproven fossil-based technologies. Failing to follow through with these promises not only endangers EU Green Deal climate objectives, but is bad economics too. euobserver, 25 May 2023

 


 

3. Norway announces support for food security in Mozambique

Norway announced on Monday (29.05) a strengthening of bilateral relations with Mozambique, with the signing of agreements in the field of ocean management and energy and an extraordinary package of aid for food security. The agreements were signed during a visit by Norway’s Minister of International Development, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, to Maputo, where she had previously lived as a diplomat.

“Food security is a key feature of Norwegian development policy,” she said, quoted in a statement from the Norwegian embassy. The Norwegian government has allocated an aid package to countries affected by the Ukraine war on the price of fertilizers and energy and “about 10 million dollars [9.3 million euros] will be allocated to partners in Mozambique,” and “the funds will be invested in food security.”

With regard to the sea, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on the Ocean for Development programme to strengthen maritime management and improve food security and livelihoods. In the area of energy, a contract of 4.2 million dollars (3.9 million euros) was signed to develop regulations for the sector. “The Norwegian Embassy manages a portfolio of approximately $50 million [€46.6 million] annually, in addition to considerable headquarters support for humanitarian aid and multilateral development programs,” the statement concluded. Norway announces support for food security in Mozambique – DW – 29/05/2023 4. Russia to supply military equipment to Mozambique

Russia is going to supply military equipment to Mozambique to improve the national capacity to combat terrorism and defend the territory. The news was released on Wednesday in Maputo by the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, after an audience with the President of the Republic, in which Filipe Nyusi received an invitation to participate in the second Russia-Africa Summit in July in the city of St. Petersburg.

After more than an hour and a half of audience behind closed doors, with Filipe Nyusi, in his office, the head of Russian diplomacy, appeared accompanied by Carlos Mesquita, Minister of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources. Russia said it was ready to supply military equipment to Mozambique to improve its defense capacity and combat terrorism, through the reactivation of technical-military cooperation, which had been suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Russia is “willing to provide equipment to Mozambican friends, both to reinforce the country’s security and to combat terrorism”, stressed Lavrov, specifically, in an allusion to the insurgent attacks in Cabo Delgado.

Carlos Mesquita, Minister of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources, who accompanied Lavrov during his visit to Maputo, expressed Mozambique’s desire to strengthen bilateral relations and reiterated the call for an end to the war in Ukraine. “It is an unequivocal demonstration of the common interest in taking forward everything that has been agreed”, said Mesquita, stressing that “technical teams are reviewing all the memorandums and agreements”, and added that “in a month and a half, in summit, in the city of St. Petersburg, we will have the opportunity to eventually sign new agreements”.

The Russian Foreign Minister also spoke of the meeting that Filipe Nyusi and Vladimir Putin will hold in July, on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa summit. “We are preparing for the second Russia-Africa summit, in July, in Saint Petersburg, between the 26th and 29th, and we expect a representative delegation from Mozambique, led by President Nyusi. In addition to the agenda, there will be a bilateral meeting between President Putin and President Nyusi.”

Lavrov also left the promise of more investment by Russian businessmen in Mozambique, the arrival in the coming days of a ship in Nacala, with food support, as well as an increase in scholarships for Mozambican students in Russia. Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Mozambique (the fourth time, after 2013, 2014 and 2018) comes five days after the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, visited Filipe Nyusi, also with identical commitments, the strengthening of relations between Kiev and Maputo. https://integritymagazine.co.mz/arquivos/12352

 


 

5. State named as greatest violator of human rights in Mozambique

In a report released in Maputo, the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) points out that the situation confirms the trend seen in recent years. In this light, says the CDD, the State appears as the main violator of human rights, both by omission and by action of its agents, especially members of the Police of the Republic of Mozambique. The Center for Democracy and Development understands that for the Mozambican State, despite having a legal and institutional framework favorable to Human Rights, its implementation remains weak, challenging and far below the expectations created. Indeed, during the first quarter of 2023, several cases of human rights violations were registered by the CDD in its actions to promote and protect human rights.

Of the various violations observed in the first quarter of 2023, the State, through its agents, continues to be the greatest violator of human rights in the country and has failed to guarantee effective access to justice for victims of violations and abuses of rights humans. Investigations are endless and lengthy and the courts do not respond to requests promptly, adequately and effectively. The CDD reiterates in its report that the right to freedom of assembly and demonstration was seriously violated from January to March 2023. Several demonstrations and meetings were banned and violently repressed in violation of the legislation in force. There was no adequate response from the administration of justice sector. In the period in question, the right to life and physical and moral integrity was violated. Indeed, several citizens lost their lives without due clarification and legal referral. The investigations were inconclusive, so there was no accountability of the presumed offenders, much less compensation for the damage caused.

In the same period there was little action by the Government in preventing, mitigating and repairing the effects of natural disasters. Several people who were victims of floods and cyclones were not properly warned about the situation, did not have adequate access to information, did not receive adequate psychosocial and material support and did not have support for repairing the damage suffered.

The CDD’s quarterly report highlights that one of the most sacrificed rights in the first quarter of 2023 is the right to freedom of expression and press and access to information. Several journalists were banned and prevented from seeking, receiving and disseminating information relevant to society.

Kidnappings, says the organization, continued to fill the human rights agenda in the first quarter of 2023, which negatively affects the enjoyment of the rights to freedom and security. Several people were kidnapped without adequate and prompt response from the justice administration sector.

Violent extremism in Cabo Delgado continues to negatively impact the enjoyment of human rights in that part of the country. Death of helpless people, insecurity, forced disappearances, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and deprivation in terms of basic living conditions are major violations that can be seen in those areas of Cabo Delgado.

In conclusion, the CDD says that Mozambique, in terms of the stage of implementation of human rights, in the first quarter of 2023, continues to walk at two speeds. On the one hand, a legal and institutional framework in clear improvement and development and favorable to human rights; and, on the other hand, weak implementation and far below the expectations created by the legal and institutional framework. https://cartamz.com/

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