At UN, Madagascar calls for ‘ecological partnership’ between Africa, rich States

At UN, Madagascar calls for ‘ecological partnership’ between Africa, rich States

Africa and the industrialized world should form an “ecological partnership” in which African States supply clean energy and other natural products and wealthy countries increase their investment in the continent, Madagascar’s President told national leaders gathered at the General Assembly today.

“There is an urgent need for the globalization of responsibility,” Marc Ravalomanana said as he called for new strategies that utilize the international community to help African economies advance more quickly and yet still protect their environment.

During previous addresses to the Assembly’s annual high-level debate, Mr. Ravalomanana has called for a Marshall Plan for Africa to match the economic assistance programme that the United States brought to Europe after World War II.

Reiterating the need for such a plan, he said today that the ecological partnership would form a crucial element.

“Such a partnership could contribute substantially to finding real solutions to some of the climate problems, through a programme of investment. Other important features would be nature conservation, and the preservation of our biodiversity.

“I am convinced that Africa could be the supplier of clean energy, medicinal and industrial plants, as well as other natural products in the future. The world is bound to need more and more of these.”

The Malagasy President said the possibilities in Africa for producing new, clean forms of energy and reducing the output of carbon dioxide were enormous.

Madagascar could provide some of the energy needs through the development of hydro energy. And half of Madagascar could be reforested. Our island, called the red island, could once again, be known as the green island.”

International help would be vital to this process, he said, stressing “there is a strong link between the quality of the environment and poverty.”

But he voiced concern at what he said was “the lack of seriousness” at forums such as the General Assembly annual high-level debate.

“A lot of promises are made, but not a lot of promises are kept,” the President said, adding that many donor nations are not even close to meeting their vow of doubling aid to Africa.

“Aid to Africa is as weak as ever. Africa can absorb so much more. And all countries would benefit from this.”