Congo River: King Mohammed VI Calls for Joint African Efforts to Turn Challenges into Opportunities

King Mohammed VI has called on African countries and particularly those bordering the Congo River basin to pool efforts in a bid to turn ecological challenges into real development and growth opportunities.

Addressing the 1st Summit of Heads of State & Govt of Climate Commission of Congo Basin and Blue Fund for Congo Basin, convened Sunday in Brazzaville, the Moroccan Sovereign stressed the need of tackling the challenge of developing the Congo River Basin through the launching of a cooperative dynamic for sustainable development, not just at the level of riparian countries, but throughout the Continent as well.

The Congo Basin is “the world’s second most important region for global carbon storage and the second largest river basin. It is also one of the largest forest areas on the planet – a region which is home to more than half of the Continent’s animal species”, King Mohammed VI told the African summiteers.

This regulator of the planet’s climate makes Africa the world’s ‘second lung. And “if we want to protect the two lungs of the planet, this challenge must become a collective ambition nurtured by Africa and the world”, added the Monarch in his speech.

The African continent’s natural and ecological resources make it one of the most important global players; its immense basins and rivers are home to an invaluable wealth: water, which has become a scarce commodity and increasingly coveted.

“Let us be aware of our wealth and of our ability to innovate. Let us pool our energies and summon our courage”, said King Mohammed VI, affirming that the protection of environment is the cornerstone of African co-emergence and the bedrock on which the Continent’s inclusive economic growth will be built.

“We must work together to tackle global warming and its risks, and transform our economies to promote sustainable development”, underlined the Moroccan Sovereign, saying that the North African Kingdom “will work resolutely and unremittingly” for the implementation of the Continent’s large-scale development projects.

“The ecological challenge should no longer be seen as a threat, but as an opportunity. That is the significance of our common commitment today – a commitment rooted in the principles of shared responsibility and pan-African solidarity”, said King Mohammed VI, stressing the need to strike a balance between development requirements and environment protection.

The Congo Basin Commission, chaired by the Republic of the Congo, was set up at the first Africa Action Summit held in Marrakesh, at the initiative of King Mohammed VI, on the sidelines of COP22 in November 2016. Since then, several steps were made to take up the climate challenges facing the region, including the creation of the Blue Fund for the Congo Basin in Oyo in March 2017.

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