Speaker of the National Assembly of Côte d'Ivoire, Mr Adama BICTOGO, speaks to "PUIC":

Need for International Solidarity to Face Climate Change

Need for International Solidarity to Face Climate Change

In his address to the Union's publication "PUIC", His Excellency the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, Mr Adama BICTOGO, addressed a number of important issues related to the process of joint Islamic parliamentary action. These issues included: climate change, the Palestinian cause, the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, economic growth and national prosperity, and criteria for success of National and regional organisations. Below is the text of the interview:

The Parliament of Côte d'Ivoire is hosting the 18th Conference of the PUIC under the theme: “PUIC Parliaments’ efforts to deal with the consequences of climate change”. How do you envision effective Parliamentary means to address the consequences of climate changes?

As you know, the world is currently facing the consequences of climate disruption, the most harmful effects of which are felt at the environmental level, notably, in the form of heavy rainfall, rising temperatures and flooding, as well as at the social level, where issues such as food insecurity, disease and land conflicts arise as a result of the displacement of disaster-stricken populations.

We are seeing many of our countries affected by the consequences of this phenomenon, which demonstrates once again, if any proof was needed, that the climate crisis is very real. We have an obligation to continue to take action to mitigate, adapt, prepare for crises and repair the consequences of climate change.

These deplorable events are the result of the climate change that the planet has been facing over the past few decades.

I am particularly in favour of international solidarity in this respect. Indeed, the scale of the damage suffered by a number of countries around the world means that we need to join forces to channel financial and material resources to provide substantial assistance to these countries, which have fallen victim to large-scale climatic disasters.

For this reason, I would like to acknowledge the convening of COP28, which took place from 30 November to 12 December 2023 in Dubai, and which provided an opportunity to review the progress made under the Paris Agreement and to draw up an action plan defined by all stakeholders in order to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the lives and livelihoods of our people, particularly the future generations.

The Palestinian cause remain the central issue for the Islamic Nation. As you know, they are facing a catastrophic situation. In your view, what is the solution for this long-standing problem? In your view, what could the PUIC do more in this regard?

First of all, I would like to express my dismay at what is happening in Gaza and Israel, in particular the violent deaths of tens of thousands of people and the vast destruction of infrastructure.

Amid this escalation of violence, we call for an immediate ceasefire and for respect of international humanitarian law in order to preserve the lives of civilians.

Your country has hosted PUIC's 49th Executive Committee which in its final Communique you emphasized on the necessity of fighting terrorism. In your opinion how can terrorism be eliminated in Africa?

As you know, the upsurge in terrorist attacks and the growth of radicalism and religious fanaticism in Africa in recent years are real obstacles to the effective implementation of inclusive development plans and strategies, especially as the growing impoverishment of our people and regional disparities encourage recession and provide fertile ground for the exacerbation of acts and actions that fuel terrorism.

Given this situation, the fight against terrorism must be seen as a joint movement that extends beyond individual countries, aiming to reduce the vulnerability of state systems by implementing measures that lead to measurable medium and long-term objectives. This strategy will enable us to prevent terrorism from inflicting major damage on the institutional, political, economic and social equilibrium of our States and communities, as is unfortunately the case in some West African countries, in the Middle East and even in the rest of the world.

The issue of terrorism and insecurity therefore calls for in-depth and coordinated reflection, in view of the acts of violent extremism witnessed in our countries, resulting in deaths, dehumanisation, destruction of property and displacement of populations.

This year, Côte d'Ivoire has realized a high economic growth among African countries. What is the reason for this? What is Côte d'Ivoire's recommendation for the prosperity of African countries?

Côte d'Ivoire is the world's leading producer of cocoa and cashew nuts, and has enjoyed one of the fastest and most sustained rates of economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa for over ten years under the leadership of His Excellency Alassane OUATTARA, President of the Republic.

With an average real GDP growth of 8.2% over the period 2012-2019, Côte d'Ivoire has managed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and maintain a positive growth rate of 2% in 2020. By 2021, the country has returned to its high growth track and continues to play a central role as a regional economic hub.

In 2022, economic activity in Côte d'Ivoire remained robust, although it faced challenges arising from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, global monetary contraction, and growing political instability in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).

Growth was largely driven by sustained public investment and strong domestic consumption. The industrial and service sectors and the government's fiscal measures aimed at containing price increases also contributed to this economic performance.

The economic forecast for the short and medium term remains positive, albeit slightly below the levels seen prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. This positive outlook is underpinned by a strong commitment to macroeconomic stability and ongoing structural reforms in line with the National Development Plan (NDP 2021-2025).

Over the next few years, average real GDP growth is expected to reach 6.5% in 2024-25. Continued investment in network infrastructure, particularly in the digital and transport sectors, and the exploitation of recent oil discoveries, combined with prudent macroeconomic policies, should boost business confidence and increase productivity. Projects to develop value chains have the potential to improve agricultural productivity and boost manufacturing, which will support long-term growth prospects.

Côte d'Ivoire has achieved this progress thanks to the political stability it has enjoyed over the last ten years under the leadership of the President of the Republic. So if there's one strategy I could recommend for development in Africa, it's to work towards achieving stability, creating more jobs for young people and women, and above all joining forces to combat terrorism.

How do you evaluate the success, or otherwise, of African regional organizations in talking African disputes and problems?

Assessing the success or otherwise of African regional organisations in resolving disputes and problems across the continent can be a complex matter and depends on a number of factors, most notably:

Conflict Resolution: The effectiveness of a regional organisation can be measured by its ability to prevent, mitigate or resolve conflicts between member states. If it succeeds in peacefully resolving tensions and disputes, it is generally considered to be more successful.

Implementation of decisions: A successful regional organisation should be able to effectively implement its decisions and resolutions. If member states follow the recommendations and agreements reached within the organisation, this can be considered a measure of success.

Regional Stability: The overall stability of a region is an important indicator. If a regional organisation succeeds in creating a stable and peaceful environment, it is likely to be regarded as an effective player in resolving regional problems.

Economic and Political Cooperation: The degree to which member states cooperate economically and politically can be an indicator of success. Regional organisations that promote economic and political cooperation are often seen as making a positive contribution to regional development.

Respect for Human Rights and Democracy: The promotion of and respect for human rights, as well as the promotion of democracy, are key criteria. An organisation that works actively to strengthen democracy and protect human rights is often considered to be accomplishing important work.

Given this wide range of criteria, it is essential to acknowledge that the assessment of success may vary according to the specific objectives and perspectives of each organisation. Furthermore, the complex challenges facing Africa often require a long-term approach, and results can take time to emerge.

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