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Paris Climate Conference/“Climate challenge and African solutions” summit

Published on December 2, 2015
Speech by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic
Le Bourget, December 1, 2015

Among the events at the Climate Conference, we wanted there to be a meeting on Africa and on projects that could galvanize the whole continent. Without bringing together all the African heads of state and government – but their representatives here, through the institutions, will be able to speak on their behalf –, we wanted to talk about three subjects.

The subject of renewable energy, that of adaptation, and finally everything we want to do by means of the Great Green Wall, in particular, and Lake Chad. Those projects are directly linked to this degradation of the climate and to its effects on the African continent.

I’d like to thank all the participants, because we don’t have an assessment to make but we have decisions to take and also finance to ensure.

So first of all there’s the subject of renewable energy. Africa has great potential which remains largely untapped, and the Egyptian President will be able to introduce our discussions on this point, because it’s he who chairs the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change.

The African Union and the African Development Bank will also set out their projects because, for us, access to renewable energy – i.e. to electricity – will enable families not only to have light, do cooking and heat themselves but to take part directly in economic activities. France – and I’ll come back to this in my conclusion – wants to make Africans’ access to electricity a major priority, and we’ve already made progress on a number of solutions.

The second subject is the fight against desertification, particularly in the Sahel but not only in the Sahel, and there too we’ll have to act to ensure that agricultural production can be stepped up, that land can be protected and that we can guarantee food security.
To illustrate this challenge – and this will be the third phase of our discussion – we’ll set out actions relating to the Great Green Wall, which is supported by the African Union, but also what we can do for Lake Chad, because we know there’s not only an environmental crisis there but also a security crisis, given Boko Haram’s actions in the region.

That’s what will justify our discussions, ultimately with a shared dimension to all those challenges, namely finance: if there’s no finance there can be no action in these different areas. And that’s where the COP President will have to make the ministers work and where the heads of state should also make efforts to have the highest level of finance and ensure this finance is allocated to adaptation and to the challenges I’ve just described.

Let me hand over to the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon./.

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