Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has called on African leaders to exercise their responsibility in acting on climate change and to unite efforts to face challenges to establishing stability and peace in the continent.
El-Sisi's comments came during the opening of the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development, which is taking place in Aswan, Upper Egypt 11-12 December.
In a speech broadcast live on TV on Wednesday, El-Sisi urged African countries to join all efforts to overcome major problems facing Africa, mainly combating terrorism and associated phenomena of arms and human trafficking, illegal migration and increasing organised crimes.
The Egyptian president, who curently holds the rotating presidency of the 55-national African Union, also called on fellow heads of state to take more decisive action to tackle climate change
"We all shall act with responsibility on the negative implications of climate change which have exacerbated desertification and scarcity of water and natural resources," El-Sisi said
African countries have made progress on achieving development and bringing stability in the region, El-sisi says, citing the adoption of 2063 African development agenda, and the initiative for a conflict-free continent by 2020 called 'Silencing the Guns by 2020'.
Regional and international support for African countries' sovereignty and backing African countries' national efforts to outline development plans based on their own priorities is a mainstay of bringing peace and stability, he said.
"Peace can only be achieved and sustained in the long term by bolstering the role of countries and governments to exercise sovereignty over their lands and enhancing their institutional capabilities in all fields."
The president also called for drawing up executive policies to empower young people, who the UN says make up three quarters of Africa's population.
The two-day gathering, which focuses on post-conflict reconstruction and sustainable development in Africa, brings together top African heads of state, world government officials and delegates from key international organisations including the United Nations Development Programme.
Niger, Chad, Nigeria and Senegal are among African countries attending the forum.
Western countries taking part in the forum include Canada, the UK, Japan and Sweden.