Power relations may affect climate engagement

Peter Makwanya

CLIMATE change engagement for sustainable development is ideologically tilted in favour of rich and powerful nations, which, in turn, produce more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Peter Makwanya

The state of their economies and the enormous industrial power and technological sophistications may aid in the production of unequal power relations between the developed and developing countries.

These are done through processes and strategies which represent and perpetuate their hegemonic influences.

They use power relations in order to transform and consolidate their placement on the development ladder.

Power relations operate as controlling forces in climate change information dissemination, climate negotiations and engagements.

Through unseen forces and powerful machinations operating in the background, the climate new world order is unjustifiably chattered, directed and misdirected as well as communicated in complex ways and channels.

Powerful nations consolidate their power through the use of language to persuade and manipulate vulnerable developing countries and implementing partners.

Climate change engagements are ideologically by relations of power and struggles over control in order to secure power and hegemony.

It is also a cause for concern that developing countries lack the required voice and manoeuvring space to articulate their climate concerns sustainably without being called upon to side with any notable influential block so as to guarantee their economic survival or continuous flow of aid.

If they are to openly criticise the well-resourced countries, funding with strings attached may as well disappear.

In this regard, instead of thinking with their brains, they surrender that process and begin to think with their stomachs.

Inherent within relations and landscapes in which the power is uneven and biased, such imbalances help these countries to maintain inequalities, thereby affecting not only the sustainable communication process, but also the engagement processes.

Because of being fearful through having less bargaining power, developing countries always find themselves compromising more than what is expected of them.

In this regard, they always think that it is important to import knowledge yet, they have their cultural mechanisms and strategies which can improve environmental sustainability.

Despite their internally and locally driven adaptation pathways, these countries require the influential and powerful nations to certify the feasibility of these climate action strategies.

If developing countries are to have greater say within the engagement process, this will enable them to set the agenda also.

Of course, power imbalances are always there, but the problem is that they don’t benefit the vulnerable communities.

Members of developing countries who consistently experience disempowerment within, end up losing confidence in themselves together with their adaptation practices.

In this regard, power imbalances may can insufficiently interfere significantly with the envisaged communication channels as well as the required outcomes and solutions.