RAYMOND NDONG SIMA, Prime Minister of Gabon, said his country has emerged from trials and tribulations following a chaotic electoral process which was interrupted on 30 August by the security and defence forces. This intervention was condemned by the international community as a violation of a democratic requirement for the handover of power. He recalled the Gabonese political context which preceded this takeover of power, specifically the experience of the 2016 presidential election, of which the current situation is a result. This election — denounced as fraudulent — was characterized by violence and loss of human lives.
“Any attentive observer of Gabonese political life in recent years would be fully aware of the unravelling of the situation,” he continued, adding that neither the political actors nor the voters were ready to accept — once again —electoral misconduct. Given this situation, the defence and security forces had a choice: they could either prepare to repress the protests with the risk of being prosecuted before international courts or they could choose to interrupt a process that is fraudulent and dangerous for national cohesion. They chose the latter, he said, noting that “consequently, this military intervention without bloodshed, without any material damage was seen as a lesser of two evils”. He stressed the need to prepare reforms and return to an ordinary institutional process that would allow for the handing over of power through elections.
Turning to the multiple security, humanitarian, health, climate and geopolitical crises, he said the system of collective security advocated by the Charter of the United Nations appears to be fiction in many regions of the world, particularly in Africa, where the Sahel region, the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region have become “real epicentres of instability”. In most of these regions, the predation of natural resources constitutes a significant source of conflict to the point those resources have become a real curse for the countries that possess them. Accordingly, he called for real structural transformation of the peace and security architecture of the United Nations. The absence of adequate resources allocated to prevention and peacebuilding has contributed to the resurgence of crises in periods of transition or to new conflicts. “Our generation has a responsibility towards future generations,” he emphasized, detailing Gabon’s investments in the preservation of biodiversity and its commitment to fighting climate change.
Pointing to the new debt-for-nature financial contract, he said it offers opportunities to increase budgets dedicated to protecting biodiversity, responding to the unsustainability of the debt of developing countries and combating climate change. Through this new green financing mechanism, Gabon has benefited from restructuring 3 per cent of its debt, against a commitment to invest $163 million in the preservation of its marine ecosystems. Further, he called on international financial partners to increase debt conversion initiatives to face the challenges of global warming, loss of biodiversity and sustainable development. He said that, throughout the transition he is leading, he plans to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda by strengthening national policies in a pragmatic manner and encouraging innovative partnerships. However, to achieve this end, it is fundamental that the international community increases its support for developing countries, he said, declaring: “Africa must be able to find its rightful place as a full-fledged player on the international scene and not simply a stake for the world’s powers.”
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