SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR FELIX-ANTOINE TSHISEKEDI TSHILOMBO, PRESIDENT OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO AT THE SIXTY-FOURTEENTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS
New York, Thursday, September 26, 2019
Mr. President of the United Nations General Assembly,
In addressing this august assembly, I would like to congratulate you, Ambassador TIJJANI MUHAMMAD BANDE, on your brilliant election as President of the 74th Ordinary General Assembly of the United Nations. United Nations. My congratulations extend to the members of Your Office, and I wish to express to your entire team my best wishes for the accomplishment of this exalting mission.
I would also like to pay tribute to Mr Antonio GUTERRES,
Secretary-General of the United Nations, for his tireless efforts to strengthen our Organization and strengthen its role in finding solutions to the problems that threaten peace, security and prosperity in the world.
Mister President ;
The theme of this Session, which is: To galvanize multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate change and inclusion, is timely at this very difficult time for multilateralism, while humanity as a whole is engaged in an unprecedented momentum, within the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Development. This agenda provides for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, the implementation of the of Addis Ababa Action on Financing for Development and Achieving Targets in the Paris Climate Agreement.
Inequality and exclusion are at the root of the main threats to peace, stability and harmonious development. They feed the uncontrolled migratory flows of entire peoples in search of a better future.
In both northern and southern countries, they accentuate xenophobic reflexes, the rise of populism, and the radicalization of the left behind. The tragic events in South Africa are the worst illustration.
These movements of popular frustrations, which in some regions go as far as nurturing terrorism, hijack the political debate and prevent us from providing concerted responses to the problems that affect us all.
I say from the top of this House that no country in the world can face these challenges alone. Unity, solidarity, tolerance and international cooperation are essential values, reflected by our founding fathers in the Charter of our Universal Organization.
More than ever, the economic and social development and the fulfillment of the peoples of the planet are fundamental and inalienable rights.
As leaders, we carry the obligation to work hard to guarantee these rights.
For decades, our Common Organization has been striving to adapt to the new realities of this ever-changing world.
In order to be better able to sustainably meet the challenges of development in a globalized world, we advocate a comprehensive reform of the
United Nations, including the Security Council and agencies of the United Nations system. The reform process of the Security Council must be completed and take into account the African Common Position set out in the EZULWINI Consensus and in the Declaration of SYRTE.
It is not fair that Africa remains the only region in the world without permanent representation in the Security Council, while most of the demographic, social and environmental challenges of the planet are intrinsically linked to our continent. We want a fair and equitable Security Council configuration, more representative of the peoples of the world in their diversity and accountable for their actions.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Despite the commitments at the highest level that we have made to create the world we want by 2030, nearly a billion people
still live in hunger, malnutrition and extreme poverty, while 118 million people living in extreme poverty will be exposed to drought, floods and heat in Africa by 2030.
We can not accept the simple hypothesis of a possible failure of global commitments by 2030, especially after the very mixed result, particularly in Africa, of the Millennium Development Goals campaign.
The eradication of poverty and hunger is now urgent!
The Democratic Republic of Congo can be part of the solution, with its 80 million hectares of arable land and abundant waters, capable of feeding more than 2 billion people.
The challenge of access to quality education for all, the second subject of the theme of this Session, is of particular interest to us because the experience of the development of the post-independence decades has reinforced our conviction that there is only men.
That is why, since 2011 already, we had made the main idea of the 2030 Agenda to LEAVE NO ONE FOR ACCOUNT (LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND), through our well-known commitment from my compatriots titled: THE PEOPLE FIRST!
Also, the main social priorities of my mandate are defined as follows:
First, to make free primary education in public education as required by the constitution of my country. This commitment has been effective since the beginning of this month throughout the territory.
It will bring, in a year, the share of education spending by 8% to almost 20% of the state budget, a level close to the standards recommended by UNESCO.
Secondly, to promote a better match between education and employment, through an ambitious technical and vocational training strategy, designed and implemented in partnership with the private sector.
Third, advance the worksite of universal health coverage.
We hope that by the end of next year, more than
An additional 8 million Congolese will have access to an effective health insurance system.
On the other hand, the Democratic Republic of Congo has just defined its National Digital Plan, the implementation of which will impact all sectors of national life. In addition, the digitization of the economy will enable the country to make rapid progress in the fight against corruption and various economic crimes.
Our democracies have become particularly demanding and impatient, we must find ways to implement our ambitions that are off the beaten path.
As a result, I have initiated a vast emergency community development program, which will act as a lever to accelerate the reduction of socio-economic and spatial inequalities in cities and territories. It will be a special, multisectoral and integrated program, which I will pilot personally, with a view to making up for the country’s backwardness in its progress towards the achievement of the World Development Goals.
This program will benefit from the strategic and financial support of all partners and support from the United Nations Development Program. It aims to increase people’s access to basic social services, particularly through the promotion of rural micro-hydroelectric power stations, more than 700 of which are already identified.
The program also aims at developing human capital, as well as strengthening the connectivity of territories through rural roads.
The socio-economic development of humanity by 2030 will be sustainable or will not be. In this respect, our fate, whether rich or poor, is more than ever linked. Through its natural resources and demographic vitality, Africa has become the backbone of this sustainability.
In this Africa, nature has made my country the repository for 47% of the continent’s forests, giving it a major responsibility for the survival of our planet.
I have already had to remind him several times; it is imperative and urgent to make available to our continent new sources of energy and new modes of production compatible with the preservation of the environment and the affirmation of our inalienable right to development.
We are firmly committed to protecting our forests. However, the preservation of our natural heritage can not be done to the detriment of our development.
It is incomprehensible that the Congo Basin forests, which are the best conserved in the world, capture only 1% of available funding.
It is imperative that the entire international financial architecture, including the International Monetary Fund in its catalytic role in financing development, further integrates the environmental dimension into its analysis of macroeconomic criteria and challenges, linked to its interventions in different areas. country.
As far as we are concerned, aware of the DRC’s major role in this respect, our Government has relaunched the dialogue with its main partners on environmental issues, particularly those brought together under the Central African Forests Initiative. Responding to the call of Secretary-General of the United Nations, our Government is committed, by my person, to increase the level of its commitments under its Determined National Contribution and to maintain close collaboration among countries of the sub-region, to speak with one voice on all major issues related to forest protection.
My Government has made clean and renewable energy production the first of its economic priorities for the five-year period.
We can, with aggressive investments and an attractive policy to protect these investments, go from less than 10% of electrification currently to 60% in the next 10 years, significantly reducing the consumption of firewood. Also, as part of the realization of our energy mix, to strengthen the fight against deforestation, my Government encourages the development of the use of domestic gas in urban, peri-urban and rural areas.
Ultimately, we want to be the place on the planet where the electric kilowatt hour will be the cheapest, thanks to the exploitation of our capacity of more than 100,000 megawatts in hydropower.
We are willing to further regulate logging and expand natural reserves and parks to increase our biomass and protect our biodiversity. On the other hand, this can only be achieved with, in return, the effective implementation of an eco-responsible industrialization strategy, concentrated around the production and consumption centers, and generating employment for our youth.
Our population, whose average age is 17½, is only slightly older than young Greta and shares some of her concerns and interests.
But how will our young people commit to the same struggle when they have neither water nor light?
I have also decided to gradually move my country out of an archaic agricultural system, with low productivity and destructive of our forest heritage.
To this end, we will promote an agroforestry that maximizes our comparative advantage for certain crops, favoring savannah areas.
I intend to make the environmental issue an omnipresent and cross-cutting concern, which affects all of our policies, strategies, programs and development projects.
As I address the world from this rostrum for the first time, I must remind you of the special relationship our Organization has with my country.
First of all, this relationship inspires me with a sense of gratitude.
Indeed, the Democratic Republic of Congo has often been at the heart of the United Nations, following the many crises it has experienced since independence.
From the tragic death of Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld to the many fallen peacekeepers, to the more recent assassination of UN experts Zaïda Catalan and Michael Sharp, the United Nations, more than any other international organization, lived in his flesh the realities that live millions of my compatriots.
The UN and its many agencies have also deployed significant financial resources to support the Democratic Republic of Congo.
I would like to reiterate the gratitude of the Congolese people who will never forget the support of our Organization.
That being said, I can not help regretting that my country’s history is so painfully linked to the United Nations, which for 24 years 59 years of independence, has deployed a mission of peace.
Why, despite this long presence, most hopes for peace and development have been disappointed? Beyond internal choices and responsibilities, we can not observe the Congo or Africa in isolation from the rest of the world and the interests of others.
What would be the trajectory of Congo without the assassination of Patrice Lumumba?
What would have become of my country if we had allowed it to continue its peaceful democratic learning of the post-cold-war era without going through a war from elsewhere?
And without wishing to go back so far in time, we live every day these shocks of interests that most often explain the recurring fragility of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Today, the biggest challenge of the Democratic Republic of Congo is that of peace, security and stability. Since our inauguration, convinced of the absolute necessity of peace, we have committed ourselves unreservedly to the achievement of this objective, taking into account all its regional and international dimension.
It is in this perspective that I proposed, last July at the 39th SADC Summit held in Dar es Salaam, the creation of a regional coalition in the image of the global coalition against terrorism, to eradicate the plague insecurity created by armed groups of internal and external origin. In the east of my country, our Security Forces are fighting daily, with the support of MONUSCO, determined to eradicate the negative forces that sow death and desolation among our people.
Some of these rebel movements, including the ADF-MTN, are operating in terrorist acts in accordance with their membership of DAESH, which poses a new threat for both my country and the subregion.
As if conflicts and instability were not enough, these eastern regions of the DRC have been affected for one year by an epidemic of Ebola.
Given the seriousness of the situation, I set up last May, a Technical Unit that works under my supervision, made up of internationally renowned experts and led by our compatriot, the Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe, who is the one who identified the Ebola virus and whose research led to the discovery of MB114, a therapeutic molecule for the treatment of this disease.
The new response strategy is starting to take effect, especially in the city of Goma, which is now immune to the virus. Although much has been done, the epidemic is not yet eradicated. The strategy will be strengthened by the introduction of five new approved drugs, in addition to the Ebola vaccine, which will completely eliminate this scourge.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the solidarity shown by our bi and multilateral partners, particularly the World Health Organization, the African Union, UNICEF, the World Health Organization World Food, MONUSCO and many others.
With particular regard to this UN mission, in this pivotal period of its future in the DRC. Marked by the exercise of a strategic review, I would first like to reiterate the Congolese people’s thanks to the contributing countries for the human and material sacrifices made to date for my country.
I note a convergence of views with the Secretary-General on the urgent need to re-adapt the configuration of MONUSCO to the changing situation on the ground, with a greater focus on the operational response capabilities of UN forces to sides of the DRC Armed Forces. In other words, the DRC still needs MONUSCO, but a MONUSCO non-bloated, well equipped, strong and with a suitable mandate, like the Rapid Intervention Brigade that had once, help defeat the M23 rebel movement.
Like other developing countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo aspires to emergence.
We are convinced that our country, which by its geo-strategic position is at the crossroads of the economic groupings of Central Africa, Southern Africa and East Africa, must play the card of African integration as the driving force of development and vector of peace between nations. That is why we have supported the Continental Free Trade Area project, while being aware that it will be implemented in successive stages. This process inevitably involves the harmonization and disarmament of customs barriers.
It is in this vision that the DRC intends to accelerate the implementation of an infrastructure development program at the height of its immense area of 2,345 million square kilometers, in order to connect the country from West to East and from North to South, to facilitate the transit of goods and people and to liberate the agricultural potential of our provinces.
Today, the DRC holds about 70% of the world’s strategic metals reserves, which are essential for achieving the energy and digital transition that is binding on humanity.
Rather than using its natural reserves of minerals as a source of monopoly rent, my country intends to open up to the world by allowing the regulated exploitation of its subsoil against an accompaniment to the industrialization and the production of batteries and higher value-added components. The world is thirsty for cobalt, coltan, lithium; we want industrial jobs, training, and development.
Finally, the DRC has 53% of Africa’s freshwater reserves, and sustainable management of this potential will one day quench the thirst of a quarter of the world’s inhabitants.
Today we are experiencing a deep crisis of the liberal international order.
The law of the strongest will only reinforce frustrations and violence.
By way of illustration, the recent attacks on oil installations in Saudi Arabia raise fears of a conflagration around the Strait of Hormuz, which would paralyze the world economy.
We have a duty to denounce any form of violent reaction to political problems that can be resolved through dialogue and consultation.
Are we ready to define a new world order in which Africa and the DRC will play the role given to them by the changes recorded?
I believe that a new way is possible, probably the most difficult, probably the most complex, the most demanding, which requires us to think outside the box.
My country the Democratic Republic of Congo, which had just organised democratic and peaceful elections for the third time, had the good fortune to live, for the first time in its history, a peaceful and democratic alternation, while many of observers painted a rather gloomy and pessimistic picture of the outcome of the electoral process.
This historic victory is above all that of the Congolese people, whose intense sacrifices made in recent years have been rewarded by the successful completion of a high-risk electoral process.
It is also an opportunity to thank the international community, especially the SADC countries, Kenya, Egypt and the USA, who, without delay, have encouraged this giant step accomplished by my country in the construction process. rule of law.
Since my inauguration, I am working to consolidate this democratic advance by guaranteeing all rights and freedoms. No one is harassed for his opinions; the DRC no longer has prisoners of conscience; no one feels the need to emigrate to save his life or preserve his security because of his political convictions or his particular associations.
As far as gender mainstreaming is concerned, even though we have not yet achieved full parity, I am pleased to note the progress made in the DRC in this area in all sectors. By increasing the participation rate of women from 6% to 18%, the current Government has reached the highest level of female participation in the history of my country. I have made the gender approach one of my priority political commitments.
At the level of the Region, I have developed an intense diplomatic activity with a view to reaffirming my country’s continued commitment to good-neighbourly relations and to peaceful coexistence, while respecting the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of other nations. In this sense, we African leaders must give our continent a consensual and harmonious voice, based on a truly African policy.
Allow me to express my deep concern about what is happening in the Mediterranean Sea, where several people, candidates for emigration, die every day in inhuman conditions. The waves of refugees and the shocking images we have been experiencing over the last few years on the European coast must challenge our consciences as leaders.
Since the beginning of 2015, more than 500 thousand migrants have tried to reach Europe via the Mediterranean and more than 5 000 of them have died during the crossing. The seriousness of this disaster requires urgent and effective solutions from us. The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which we adopted in Marrakech in 2018, is our response to the migration crisis. We have a duty to develop, as soon as possible, ambitious national initiatives for its implementation. But our best weapon is to work for development, equity and stability around the world.
I also take this opportunity to claim from this rostrum, the full lifting of the sanctions that still affect the Republic of Zimbabwe, and since 2002. These sanctions are no longer justified when the country has opened a new chapter of its own. history and was open to cooperating with the world. The maintenance of these sanctions is unfair.
It hampers the country’s attractiveness to foreign investment and affects not only Zimbabwe, but also the entire region.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The absolute priority of my action is to offer a perspective of dignity to our populations, to promote job creation especially for young people and to fight against precariousness and exclusion.
And this assembly that wants to reduce inequalities and build a more inclusive world, can be the voice of those leave out.
The challenge is enormous, but what makes us human is our ability to find solutions, even the most improbable, when necessary.