Address by His Majesty Mohammed VI of Morocco during the first Summit of Heads of State and Government of the countries participating in the work of the Climate Commission and the Blue Fund for the Congo Basin. The summit took place on 29 April 2018 in the capital of the Congo, Brazzaville.
Addressing the guests, including the President of the Republic of Congo, the President of the African Union and the President of the African Union Commission, His Majesty Mohammed VI noted, inter alia, that “Following the path of deep transformation, Africa looks to the future with confidence and calmness, but also with the awareness that this road is full of challenges, the most important of which is certainly the question of how to connect the development of our continent with the awakening of ecological awareness.
We are all responsible for protecting the biological diversity of the African continent. The impoverishment of our common resources will have negative consequences for the daily lives of Africans and the socio-economic development of the continent.
The situation in the Basin of the Congo arouses our deep concern. It is the second – on a global scale – region rich in coal resources and a large basin with forest areas inhabited by over half of the species of African animals. The Congo area is also referred to as the “second lung of the world” because it has a significant impact on the climate of the entire planet.
During the COP22 Climate Conference in Marrakesh in November 2016, I took part, at my initiative, the first African Summit dedicated to issues related to climate change on our continent. In order to increase the effectiveness of the work, we have appointed three Regional Commissions, namely the Sahel Commission, led by the Republic of Niger, the Committee of Island States, led by the Republic of Seychelles and the Congo Area Commission, led by the Republic of the Congo.
The actions undertaken resulted in the creation in March 2017 of the Blue Fund. Morocco supports the implementation of this project, considering it as ambitious and suited to the needs of the present and future. This project is based on integrated programs related to the new blue and green economy.
We are here to make it clear that the protection of the rich resources of the Congo River, our common African heritage, is at stake. We have this task to meet 200 million Africans and Africans who live in this region.
We should develop mechanisms that will enable funding of this project, encourage representatives of international private and public funds, mobilize economic operators and civil society.
The Blue Fund will enable the implementation of projects aimed at modernization and extension of inland waterways and river ports, as well as the fight against water pollution. The new water management will become a driving force for development.
Negative effects of climate change may cause, apart from food shortages and water resources depletion, increased migration flows as a consequence of impoverishment of the population and weakening of countries.
If we do not take action, climate change will lead to the destruction of arable fields and the depletion of water resources in the near future.
The development of the Congo river basin serves not only the coastal states but also the whole continent. The extensive basins and large rivers flowing through the African continent conceal invaluable wealth – blue gold or water. Let’s be aware of this wealth. Let us manage it wisely and boldly, work out a common vision.
Environmental protection is one of the basic elements of the program of building Africa of tomorrow. Let us develop the economies of our countries, aware of the risks of global warming.
Ecological challenges can not be treated as a threat, but as a priority for our entire continent. “