Kinshasa, 14 October 2012 - In Kinshasa for two days to participate in the 14th Francophonie Summit, the theme of which this year is "Francophonie, the Environmental and Economic Challenges Facing Global Governance", Gabon's President, Ali Bongo Ondimba, reaffirmed the importance of peace, sustainable economic development and environmental preservation in building the future of Africa and also the need to reform global governance.
During talks on "environmental and economic issues" this Sunday, 14 October, the Gabonese President spoke about the need to find solutions to transform conflict, poverty and environmental deterioration, major issues in Africa, into a virtuous circle of peace, sustainable economic development and environmental preservation.
Echoing his Beninese counterpart Yayi Boni, Ali Bongo Ondimba said that "Africa needs peace to develop" and so that it can start to plan "a future centred on significant economic and environmental assets".
But it is also necessary to "build strong economies based on a better use of natural resources, greater resilience to volatility in raw material prices, a diversification of economic activities and partnerships and well-trained human resources". "The fight against youth unemployment must be the driving force", he added.
Furthermore, the Gabonese Head of State believes that it is vital for African economies to focus on the world's major environmental challenges, namely climate change, the loss of biodiversity and soil degradation.
"The small ecological footprint of the African countries that are members of the International Organisation of La Francophonie is an opportunity to turn the French-speaking community into a sustainable development model", he said. However, in order to do this, these countries must have the knowledge and the technologies required to develop without producing high greenhouse gas emissions.
The Gabonese Head of State then added that "Africa needs operational global environmental governance that is capable of meeting the challenges at hand". He considers the reform of international governance a crucial issue, arguing that "the multiplicity of agencies and programmes hinder the coordination and effectiveness needed to implement international decisions." In addition, there is a "lack of political will regarding the serious threats to the future of our planet, which is preventing us from changing trajectory. By way of example, the world is concerned about the rampant erosion of the biodiversity that is essential to life but, to date, only six states have ratified the Nagoya Protocol", one of which is Gabon. Finally, he considers that "the question of humankind's shared heritage must lead to answers that respond to people's concerns and their development aspirations."
The President concluded his speech with the remark that "the Francophonie community must take bold and dynamic action to clean up current global environmental governance in order to improve performance."
The Heads of State and governments present praised the Gabonese President's speech, which reinforced the Kinshasa Declaration, adopted unanimously at the end of the two-day conference.
This 14th Francophonie Summit saw a consensus on all the issues on the agenda. The International Organisation of La Francophonie made a global commitment to supporting Africa across all fields in its 60-point Kinshasa Declaration, which summarised the commitments of the 57 member countries and 20 observers. In addition, just like the Gabonese President in his address to the 67th UN General Assembly last September, the International Organisation of la Francophonie again argued for "the necessary reform of the Security Council" in which "African countries can enjoy their rightful place".
The next summit will be held in 2014 in Dakar, Senegal.