ROBERT DUSSEY, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and Togolese Abroad of Togo, spotlighting a “world overcast by shadow”, urged those present to work to repair lost security and trust. “O Africa, you are wounded and bruised,” he observed, detailing Africa’s many vulnerabilities: lack of income; low levels of development; major health crises; climate change; disrupted global supply chains; a cyberspace invaded by criminals and disinformation; recurring armed conflict; and the spread of international terrorism. On that point, he warned that Africa risks becoming a sanctuary for international terrorism and, consequently, the weakest link in the global security system. For its part, Togo combats violent extremism by marrying security approaches and development. Further, the Government works to achieve universal health coverage, food sovereignty, socioeconomic inclusion and economic stability, along with protecting marine and coastal ecosystems. To this latter end, it aims to protect 90 per cent of its coastline by 2025.
He also detailed other climate measures, including initiatives to combat desertification by planting 1 billion trees by 2030 and to provide solar energy kits to vulnerable rural populations throughout Togo. He went on to underscore that terrorism and instability in Africa are problems of international security, and “must be treated as such by the United Nations”. West Africa — where several States are in transition against a volatile security backdrop — must be supported with active solidarity, and he urged those present to invest more in peace than in war. Quoting Immanuel Kant — “if those who make war could send their own children to the front, there would never be war” — he pointed out that Togo has never waged war on its neighbours, nor served as a rear base for one. “Peace is in the DNA of the people of Togo,” he emphasized, recalling that his country has hosted peace negotiations such as those relating to Chad in 1982, Sierra Leone and Liberia in 1991 and Côte d’Ivoire in 2000.
Turning to Sudan — affected by concerning armed conflict for several months — he noted that Togo hosted a consultative dialogue in July between political and military leaders in Darfur to contribute to a resolution. He urged the parties to choose dialogue and consultation to settle their differences in Sudan’s greater interest, adding that the conflict does not attract global attention “as much as it should”. Calling for reform of the Security Council — which “can no longer remain a group of the victors of the Second World War and their allies” — he also underscored that Africa’s partners must change their attitude and approach to an Africa that has radically changed. He stressed that, while Africa does not have the same “megaphone” as the world’s great Powers, “the voice of Africa counts — and must count — if the world wants to have Africa as a partner on major international issues”. “We want to be your partners, not your subjects,” he added.
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