15 June, Geneva (Switzerland) - Mr Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th UN General Assembly and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives, received representatives of international civil society at the Palais des Nations. Richard Amalvy, Chief Executive of the Brazzaville Foundation and Treasurer of the Conference of NGOs in consultative status with the United Nations (CoNGO), was among the speakers invited to address the meeting.
Read his speech below:
It is a great honour to be among the representatives of international civil society to meet you. Our interventions respond to the declaration of intent that marked the beginning of your presidency last year, and my topic is "rebuilding sustainability", the title of your second "ray of hope".
The NGO I represent, the Brazzaville Foundation, supports African initiatives in peace, the environment and health. The perspective of my speech will therefore be African and environmental, and I would like to highlight the paradoxical injunctions to which the African continent is subjected in the multilateral concert of globalisation.
The issue of sustainability in development is correlated with that of resources, peace and stability.
Africa is struggling to reclaim its resources and strengthen the value chains that will enable it to transform the raw materials it extracts locally to create its growth in an endogenous development perspective that promotes poverty eradication and the well-being of indigenous populations.
African countries are affected, as elsewhere, by climate change. They must ensure, for example, the preservation of one of the most extensive tropical forests, the Congo Basin, which is on the way to becoming the planet's first lung because, unlike the forests of Amazonia and Africa, the Congo Basin is the only one that is still intact.
Unlike the forests of Amazonia and Indonesia, which have negative carbon exchange rates due to deforestation, the Congo Basin has a favourable exchange rate.
One of the injunctions in the discussion on climate transition is to ask Africa to put the Congo Basin under cover to allow the planet to breathe and the industrialised countries to continue their growth, which means limiting the development capacities of African countries.
This injunction was illustrated last week by the president of the African Union, Macky Sall, who told the OECD in Paris: "There are 1.4 billion people on the African continent, and more than 600 million still have no access to electricity. So, when we say that we are no longer going to finance fossil fuels, including gas, which is much less polluting than coal or fuel oil, we must realise that we are seriously undermining the objective of universal access to electricity”.
Africa is the continent that destroys the climate the least but suffers the most significant consequences of its effects. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that environmental imperatives take account of the continent's particularities so as not to prevent its development, particularly by following the innovative precepts of the green and blue economy.
This issue must be addressed at the next COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh to resolve the African continent's economic and social problems related to climate change, particularly by accelerating the financing of regional adaptation projects.
The multilateral concert of globalisation and on the oft-repeated issue of sustainable development must hear Africa."
Picture from the 76th UN General Assembly in the presence of Mr. Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th UN General Assembly, and Richard Amalvy, Executive Director of the Brazzaville Foundation