6 April, Rome (Italy) - During a meeting with Pope Francis, the Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Development and the Congo Basin of the Republic of Congo, Arlette Soudan-Nonault, who is also the technical coordinator of the Congo Basin Climate Commission (CBCC), called for the Holy Father's support in preserving the planet's first lung to become.
More than forty-two years after the great apostolic pilgrimage of Pope John Paul II to Africa and on behalf of the Congolese President Denis Sassou N'Guesso, the Minister for the Environment renewed the request for a visit of the Holy Father to the African continent in the course of 2023.
In his encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis addresses the issues of climate change, security, migration, peace and justice. Despite the fact that the Congo Basin represents an area of tropical forest of 3.7 million km2 and peatlands sequestering at least 31 billion tons of carbon, the basin mobilises only 11% of the combined green and blue finance.
"We cannot tighten our belts, we countries of the southern hemisphere, the African countries, the countries of the Congo basin, so that the rest of the world can breathe. The countries of the region provide an ecosystem service to the rest of the world," says Arlette Soudan-Nonault.
She also states that the preservation of the basin's biodiversity intrinsically includes the protection of the peoples of the region. The African solution for the global commons is the Congo Basin Blue Fund:
- based on the principles of the green and blue economy ;
- supported by the African Union's Congo Basin Climate Commission, comprising 16 countries of the basin, with the support of the Kingdom of Morocco;
- domiciled at the Development Bank of Central African States (BDEAC).
Finally, the minister appealed to the Holy Father's sacred voice and leadership to mobilise the international community, and to organise a synod dedicated to the preservation of this global climate regulator.
"The Pope was very sensitive [to this appeal]", she concluded.
Read the article published by Vatican News.