by Jean-Baptiste CALO
The President of the Republic of Vanuatu, His Excellency Fr. Baldwin Lonsdale joined dignitaries from other countries to call for leadership and political will at the official opening ceremony of the third edition of the Crans Montana Leaders Forum on March 17th, held in Dakhla, South Morocco, North West Africa.
Speaking in front of over 1500 delegates from 154 countries, Fr. Lonsdale urged the global community to seriously committed themselves in implementing the decisions of several important agreements that have been made in 2015, namely the adoption of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the 10thWorld Trade Organization Ministerial Conference.
President Lonsdale also called on the ACP leaders not to forget the resolutions taken by the 2016 COP22 organized in Morocco in 2016.
“Now the most urgent focus must be the implementation of these agreements. To achieve those goals, we need Leadership, Political Will, partnerships, involvement of Women, Youth, Civil Society and Private Sector actors with the view to successfully address the needs of the people”, Fr. Lonsdale emphasized.
He went on saying that “We should not come back in 2030 and complain that we have not achieved the target to reduce, extreme poverty, fostering food and nutrition security, protecting land, forests, oceans and seas and upgrading living conditions in slums and urban settlements, fight against climate change. The call is on us to make a tangible and concrete change to the livelihood of our people”.
He emphasized that more than half of the 79 ACP member states are Small Island Developing States (SIDS) that are vulnerable to extreme weather patterns and climate change events coupled with natural disasters that have been affecting the SIDS.
He stressed that according to world meteorological outlook, the severity of such extreme weather events will continue to increase.
All the ACP leaders who spoke at the official opening of the third edition of the Crans Montana Forum in Dakhla emphasized on the importance for leaders of all the countries to synergize their efforts in a common platform in order to try and tackle appropriately issues of similar nature that are affecting them.
The Crans Montana Leaders Forum was created in 2015 by the Swiss Crans Montana Foundation with the patronage of the King of Morocco, His Majesty Mohammed Hussain VIWith the Patronage of King Mohammed Hussein VI.
Crans Montana Forum has become a prestigious forum that unites each year since its inception, the participation of more than 2120 countries from Africa, Caribbean, Pacific, Indian Ocean and Asia.
The third and 2017 edition of Crans Montana Forum has gathered representatives of 154 countries in Dakhla, South Morocco arount the theme of the”New Africa of the 21st century and the South-South Cooperation.
In the last 5 years, the Kingdom of Morocco is currently major instrumental role in taking the lead in inviting global influential leaders from different corners of the universe (Africa, Caribbean, Pacific and beyond) to discuss the new agenda of the New Africa of the 21st century and the South-South Cooperation.
Morocco has recently rejoined the African Union Organization based in Ethiopia and occupies now a central role in the African Continent.
According to the Vanuatu Ambassador to the European Union and accredited to the Kingdom of Morocco, His Excellency Roy Mickey Joy, the invitation from Crans Montana to the Vanuatu Head of State to participate as a state guest speaker at the opening session of the prestigious forum in Dakhla is a special manifestation of the high esteem that both the kingdom of Morocco and the Crans Montana Forum have for Vanuatu.
“Vanuatu is the only Pacific ACP member state that enjoys the membership of both the English speaking Commonwealth organization and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF). Morocco is also former French colony and a member of the OIF”, Ambassador Joy said.
He added that Vanuatu has been earmarked as an ideal interlocutor for Morocco geopolitical influence in the Pacific Region because of the closeness between the two countries in terms of diplomatic relations and also as being both members of the OIF.
The official diplomatic between Port-Vila and Rabat was established in early 1997 when Rialuth Serge Vohor was then the Vanuatu Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Mr Joy explained that as a member of the COP 23 Troika (comprised of France, Fiji and Morocco) scheduled for later this year, the Kingdom of Morocco wants to use the Crans Montana global leaders forum as a platform or a vehicle to identify common positions and issues that can bring countries together in a united voice on global issues such as, Climate Change resilience, Gender, Youth and other common relevant issues.
The COP 23 is scheduled to take place in November 2017 in Bonn, East Germany, where the seat of the United Nations Framework and Conventions on Climate Change is located.
According to Ambassador joy, “after Cyclone Pam and participation on COP meetings held annually, countries are making empty declarations pledges to inject money to support the Climate resilience and adaptation programs but there are still no concrete actions”.
He explained that the delay in the implementation of COP 21 and COP 22 are mostly due by the complexity of financial procedures or by the lack of commitment from both sides, industrialized countries and the eventual recipients from the UN agencies.
It is an issue that has been raised in the Dakhla Forum this week by the ACP countries and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
On the South-South Cooperation, Crans Montana Forum encourages leaders of the global community to reinforce cooperation, political agenda in areas such as energy efficiency, information technology as means in addressing the current barriers that exists today between and among states or countries.
The Crans Montana Forum also a made a call for better integration and political agenda.
This is the second time that Vanuatu was invited to participate at the Crans Montana Forum.
The third edition of the Crans Montana Forum in Dakhla is organized this year in two parts: The first part of the program from the official opening on March 16 to 18th at the Dakhla Congress Center and the second part from March 19th to 21st2017 aboard of the “Rhapsody” Cruise ship while sailing during 2 days from Dakhla to Casablanca.