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Published April 06, 2022 / Environment

The voice of Pope Francis to plead for the preservation of the Congo Basin


April 6, Rome (Italy) - At a meeting with Pope Francis, Arlette Soudan-Nonault, the Republic of Congo's Minister of the Environment, Sustainable Development and the Congo Basin, and technical coordinator of the Congo Basin Climate Commission (CBCC), appealed for the Holy Father's support in preserving the planet's first lung in the making.

More than forty-two years after Pope John Paul II's great apostolic pilgrimage to Africa, and on behalf of Congolese President Denis Sassou N'Guesso, the Minister of the Environment renewed the Holy Father's request for a visit to the African continent in 2023.


In his encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis addresses the issues of climate change, security, migration, peace and justice. Despite the fact that the Congo Basin represents an area of tropical forest of 3.7 million km2 and peatlands sequestering at least 31 billion tonnes of carbon, the basin mobilizes only 11% of combined green and blue finance.


"We can't tighten our belts, we countries of the southern hemisphere, the African countries, the countries of the Congo Basin, so that the rest of the world can breathe. The countries of the region provide an ecosystem service to the rest of the world," asserts Arlette Soudan-Nonault.


It also specifies that the preservation of the basin's biodiversity intrinsically includes the protection of the region's peoples. The African solution for the global common good is the Congo Basin Blue Fund :


- based on the principles of the green and blue economy;

- promoted by the African Union's Congo Basin Climate Commission, which brings together 16 countries in the basin, with the support of the Kingdom of Morocco;

- domiciled at the Banque de développement des États de l'Afrique centrale (BDEAC).


Finally, the minister appealed to the Holy Father's sacred voice and leadership to mobilize the international community, and organize a synod dedicated to preserving this global climate regulator.

" The Pope was very sensitive [to this appeal] ," she concludes.


Read thearticle published by Vatican News.