“Today, Africa is Part of the Solution"
December 16, 2009 - Nicolas Sarkozy involved the 11 African countries of the Congo Basin rainforests in his action in view of an ambitious agreement at the Copenhagen climate conference. The French president thus consolidated the alliance which he endeavours, with other European leaders, to put in place between the European Union, Africa and emerging countries to get concessions from China and the United States. Tuesday, he launched with the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, a call "for an ambitious agreement" containing the main objectives which the EU and Africa would like to include in an agreement. Wednesday, Denis Sassou-Nguesso (Congo), Paul Biya (Cameroun), Idriss Deby (Chad), François Bozize (RCA), and Ali Bongo (Gabon), attended this meeting. Burundi was represented by its vice-president, Yves Sahinguvu, Equatorial Guinea by its Prime Minister, Ignacio Milam Tang, and Rwanda by its minister for the Environment, Stanislas Kamanzi. The DRC and Angola were also represented by their ministers in charge of the Environment.
Photograph: Right to left: Denis Sassou-Nguesso, Paul Biya, Nicolas Sarkozy, Idriss Deby, François Bozizé (Photograph - Gerard CerlesPool)
According to Nicolas Sarkozy, the most effective and most cost-effective way to reduce carbon emissions, is to control deforestation. Whence the need to financially support the efforts of the concerned regions in order to curtail deforestation. The whole idea would thus be that, in Copenhagen, negotiators should mobilize important means to support this effort. "It is the Africa's interest, but it is also our interest as Europeans. Europe and Africa is one and the same family", he said. "The matter is clear; we want to help the countries of the Congo Basin". It is a heritage for mankind". The French head of state announced that his country will fully play its role with regard to COMIFAC. He thus also promised to the countries of the Congo Basin to increase French assistance for the sustainable management of the Congo Basin forest".
François Bozize (RCA), whose country currently chairs COMIFAC, pointed out the importance of COMIFAC for the preservation the tropical forest and its existence as an institution since close to 10 years as a platform on which "We can rely in Copenhagen to show that Africa is moving in the right direction". He was therefore, surprised that other countries as important as the United States or China are still lagging behind. H.E. Denis Sassou-Nguesso ensured that African leaders support the initiatives of the French president and will go to Copenhagen prepared to speak as one and to reach an agreement. He insisted to stress that so far, Africa has always been presented as being the problem but it is reassuring to learn that this time around, Africa is part of the answer to climate change.
In conclusion, France and Africa agreed on a text written jointly and published with targets in precise figures on the reduction by two degrees of the overall temperature. They propose the establishment of a "fast start" fund of 10 billion dollars (approximately 6.8 billion Euros) per annum between 2010 and 2012, in order to help the most vulnerable countries to climate change to adapt in the short run to global warming. This will help fight global warming without waiting for coming into effect of the international treaty which will replace the Kyoto protocol. Europe is committed to providing 2.4 billion Euros out of the 6.8 billions needed for the fast start fund. This text further specifies that 40% of these funds shall be allocated to Africa and 20% for the fast implementation the REDD plan, to fight against tropical deforestation. In accordance with the call launched in the text, the value of assistance given annually to developing countries should reach 50 billion dollars per year by 2015, and then 100 billion dollars (68.5 billion Euros) needed every year between 2013 and 2020. For this purpose, this valuable help implies the introduction of several "innovative mechanisms", including a tax on international money transactions.
We suggest you view the full press conference on http://www.elysee.fr (see press conferences)
In the press:
Climate: Countries of the Congo Basin ready to control deforestation, if funds are made available (Le Nouvel Observateur) (French)