United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses reporters during a news conference on June 8, 2022. AP
Despite the continent’s enormous renewable energy potential, just two percent of renewable energy investments have gone to Africa over the last decade, UN Secretary General António Guterres stated on Tuesday.
The Secretary General’s remarks came in his speech at the forum's opening session the two-day Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development that kicked off in Cairo on Tuesday, adding that Countries must arrive in Egypt for COP27 determined with clear plans to close this financing gap.
"We need to end the COVID-19 pandemic, with governments, global and regional organizations, and pharmaceutical companies working better together to deliver and locally produce tests, vaccines, and treatments," Guterres said.
We must expand African countries’ access to financing and debt relief, so they can invest in job creation, poverty reduction, expanded social protection, food security and green growth, he said.
"We need to silence the guns across Africa, and address conflict’s many roots — by tackling inequalities and discrimination, and strengthening governance, institutions, public services and justice systems," he added.
And we need bold climate action, Guterres said. “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified Africa as a global hotspot for the climate crisis. Breaching the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degree goal would be disastrous”.
He went on to say "Many AU member states have come forward with ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions, clearly identified adaptation needs and adopted the African Union Green Stimulus Program."
The world must match Africa’s ambitions with resources, financing and technologies to accelerate the transition from coal and other fossil fuels to renewables," he said. I am calling for a five-point proposal to achieve a renewable energy revolution, making renewable technology freely available as a global public good, he noted.
Countries should support the work of the World Meteorological Organization to ensure that every person in the world has access to early warning systems for disasters over the next five years, he added.
He concluded by saying "Across all these areas, the United Nations stands with Africa as we shape a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable future for all Africans."
Mobilizing efforts to confront climate change
Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat thanked Egypt for organizing the Aswan Peace Forum, hoping that the forum's results will contribute to efforts to shore up stability and peace in the African continent.
He also stressed the importance of mobilizing efforts to confront climate change and provide comprehensive solutions to the enormous challenges facing Africa.
In this regard, he underlined the importance of investing in the climate field, saying there should be new energy applications to back efforts exerted by developing countries on this score.
He also hoped that the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 27) to the UNFCCC, set for Sharm El Sheikh in November will end in success.
The third edition of the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development was held in 21-22 June in a hybrid format with a focus on climate and security issues in Africa.
The event, held under the auspices of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to host 900 representatives from 50 countries, including foreign ministers of the continent, senior officials, think tanks, the private sector, and NGOs.
In a recorded video message aired during the opening session, Sisi stated that Egypt seeks to crystallise a joint African vision that accelerates the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda and climate action, as well as boosting the African intra-cooperation in partnership with the global and regional partners.