President Ruto: No country should pursue development at expense of environmental sustainability

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No country should be forced to make a choice between it’s development and climate action.

President William Ruto said it is possible to pursue the two together.

He explained that economic growth and environmental sustainability cannot be mutually exclusive.

President of Kenya William Ruto and other leaders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai.
President of Kenya William Ruto and other leaders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai. PHOTO: PPS

This, he observed, is a call for an integrated global effort that will broaden capital for both development and climate action.

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“Ignoring Africa’s developmental needs and the failure to invest in our youth is no longer a tenable argument,” The President said.

President Ruto was speaking on Friday at the opening plenary of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai.

He told the meeting that has attracted representatives from more than 200 countries that it is time Africa is turned into a green powerhouse.

President William Ruto delivering his speech at opening plenary of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai.
President William Ruto delivering his speech at opening plenary of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai. PHOTO: PPS

“This is not just essential for the continent but also vital for global industrial decarbonisation.”

The President argued that the world cannot afford to overlook Africa’s huge potential or ignore its pressing needs.

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At a time when the world is facing climate crisis, he regretted that the globe is still split between the North and South.

This division, the Head of State maintained, has hindered the globe’s ability to leverage its strengths.

“It has robbed us of opportunities; we must find in collective action a force that propels our success.”

By undertaking to turning promises to progress, the President said the world was firmly on its way back onto a 1.5-degree Celsius ceiling.

“We are also here to support to those who have contributed least to climate change yet bear its most catastrophic impacts.”

In the event were COP28 President Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, among other world leaders.

President William Ruto and Musalia Mudavadi during the conference
President William Ruto and Musalia Mudavadi during the conference. PHOTO: PPS

President Ruto pointed out that the climate crisis must never be seen as remote threat.

“It is here, indiscriminately devastating nations regardless of their size or wealth.”

He cited the current floods that followed the most severe drought Eastern Africa has seen
in four decades.

He apportioned these weather extremes to human activities.

The President insisted that there will be no excuse if COP28 fails to deliver a concrete and sustainable action to the crisis.

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“We have the power, the means and,
most of all, the responsibility to act.”

Later, the President held a panel discussion on Transforming Climate Finance.

He argued that the current climate financing ecosystem should be restructured and be made more responsive and innovative.

“This effectively address the challenges posed by high debt service pressure — especially in developing countries.”

In the panel were the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva, President of France Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Rishi Sunak, President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo and Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley.

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