A statement by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development today:
This forum will detail the problems the people of Africa are facing, including a COVID-19 economic crisis, vulnerability to terrorism and conflict, and food-related problems. The international community will work together to address these crises.
Many Africans are struggling under the effects of climate change, but they have contributed very little to global CO2 emissions.
We need to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments, global and regional organizations, and pharmaceutical companies should work together to deliver and locally produce tests, vaccines, and treatments.
Africa needs debt relief, so they can invest in job creation and expand their social protection. There needs to be an expansion of finance and debt relief across the continent so there is less violence. In order to do this, we need to silence the guns. Africa also suffers from inequality and discrimination, which is a part of why there is conflict and weak governance.
And we need bold climate action. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified Africa as a global hotspot for the climate crisis. To ensure that the 1.5°C goal is not breached, there must be strong international collaborations and increased ambition in implementing policies.
Many Swiss have made a plan to stop using coal and other fuels, so they can use renewables. The World needs to help Africa in this process.
I am proposing five points that can lead to a renewable energy revolution: making renewables technology freely available as a global public good, doing the same for the components and raw materials required, reforming bureaucracies to encourage investment in green projects, grid modernization and more. We need to shift subsidies from fossil fuels towards vulnerable communities, and increase public and private investments in renewables to at least $4 trillion per year.
There’s an investment gap in Africa, as there hasn’t been enough investments in renewable energy despite its vast potential. To close this gap during COP27, countries have to come with clear plans – and soon.
The UN shares Africa’s interest in shaping a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable future for all Africans. To build a more innovative society, the UN is supporting cross-border initiatives and investing in education.