PATRICE ÉMERY TROVOADA, Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe, noting the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Maputo Protocol — which concerns the rights of women in Africa — underlined the need to acknowledge the “huge deficit” in women’s participation in political decision-making. He also pointed out that, despite its binding nature, the Istanbul Convention has “done little to translate the will of the Council of Europe into results”. Faced with persistent, growing challenges – particularly poverty, hunger, inequality and environmental issues – world leaders must recognize their failure to protect the planet and ensure shared prosperity by 2030. He reported that his country — a small island developing State — has fallen victim to climate change, environmental degradation and economic dependence. Further, it faces structural problems, asymmetries of all kinds and a people who increasingly lack confidence in democratic institutions.
“We should not hesitate to point the finger” at those responsible for climate disruption within the G20, he went on to say, also stating that global economic governing bodies continue to deny access to financial resources in reasonable quantities under reasonable conditions. He also spotlighted the increasing fragmentation of global governance — occurring alongside a rise in populism and nationalism — and that digital technology is becoming a new source of inequality, wealth concentration and domination. Further, coups d’état and attempts to overthrow constitutional order are becoming more frequent, while long-standing conflicts persist in tandem with new ones in violation of international law. On that, he condemned the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine clearly and without hesitation, citing respect for international law and the Charter of the United Nations.
Emphasizing that, unfortunately, “refugees and the dead are not equal in rights and dignity in a world that calls itself civilized”, he observed: “Nowadays, it seems that only global pandemics are capable of uniting and mobilizing us.” Further, the international community has been slow to react to latent conflicts — including that in the Great Lakes Region — and international peace missions are showing their limits due to a lack of clear, effective commitments that favour populations who are the first victims. “It may be too late, but indifference and hypocrisy are unacceptable,” he underscored, adding that the problems of poor countries tend to become the problems of rich States, too. Against that backdrop, he said there is still hope if the international community commits to reform — starting with the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions.
Stressing that true leadership means finding the compromises necessary to promote peace and progress, he said that peaceful, equitable societies with healthy, educated young people are in the general interest. “Rich countries have a responsibility, but ours cannot be excluded either,” he said. He therefore reaffirmed his country’s commitment to actively collaborate with its regional and international partners to eradicate all acts that are inhumane, degrading to people or the environment or detrimental to humanist values and freedom. He added that the Organization — the “converging centre of our causes” — must lead global harmonization that respects differences in culture, Government models and economic choices.