In an interview with Energies Media at the end of the eleventh Annual Conference on Climate Change and African Development, the Congolese Minister of Environment, Sustainable Development and the Congo Basin, Arlette Soudan-Nonault, declared that Africa must resolutely take action
Madam Minister, during your speech at the closing ceremony of CCDA11, you seemed to affirm that today Africa better understands the issues linked to climate change…
Indeed, today we have a fundamental data which is the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). We had it in the past, but the difference is that today there is better ownership, better implementation, and we understand better what it is. We understand what climate change is, since it impacts our lives, it is concrete. How can we move towards resilient agriculture if we have no resources? What should you do when you have seeds that require rapid growth and the soil is dry? Ultimately you have no other choice than to buy seeds from elsewhere and which end up polluting your soil! However, polluting the soil means reaching the phreatic layer with the set of impacts that result from it: erosion, rivers and overflowing rivers. There is also the melting of Antarctica which impacts our lives, the pollution from northern countries which is disrupting the stratosphere in our regions… For example, my country, the Republic of Congo, is one of the most vulnerable countries. and those least prepared for climate change, with its share of climate refugees. This phenomenon creates problems in terms of security and even health, and we are told that we who work for the biodiversity of these basins, the preservation of global forest ecosystems, the regulation of the climate… that we must continue to maintain this conservation of nature for the rich world to breathe while the rest of us tighten our belts! No ! Africa is not holding its own. We simply ask that the rules that apply to the countries of the North, to the OECD countries, also apply to the rest of us who regulate the global climate. If we touch our forests today, scientists have proven that the world will shift by 3 or 4°C.
Madam Minister, in your intervention you seem to decry a certain climate injustice?
Indeed we want to ask ourselves if we must first let the planet burn so that the rich world wakes up? We are simply asking to be paid so that we move towards the energy transition, the ecological transition… that’s adaptation! We are good students of mitigation, of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but what do we do about it? Should we continue to conserve? At what price ? At the cost of different disasters, different miseries? We cannot continue to be told that we are bad leaders! it is not the prerogative of Africa. Many Africans are unaware of the issues facing their own continent. Today we are the ones who solve the world’s problems in terms of climate regulation. For example, everywhere in Europe when you park your vehicle and they give you a parking meter, they are doing you a service and you have to pay. It’s the same for us! because we provide an eco-systemic service to the world. So we will have to say these things to our partners in the North, because there are no more sub-peoples and we need climate justice.