Mozambique: President Guebuza Calls Bold Measures for Environmental Protection

Maputo — Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Friday urged world leaders to adopt bolder measures to protect the environment, which should be implemented immediately because scientific data show there is no time to waste.

Guebuza, who was addressing the just ended United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development which took place in the Brazilian city Rio de Janeiro, also as Rio+20, said he went "to Rio believing that the challenges facing our planet demand from the humankind structural solutions that go beyond the environmental dimension".

For Guebuza, "it is inconceivable that a fifth of the world's population still live in extreme poverty, despite scientific knowledge and technological advances made by humankind".

"This situation is exacerbated by adverse impact of climate change as predicted in 1992, which has worsened the lives of a number of people living in our planet", added the President.

Because of the destruction of the environment, "in recent years Mozambique has been hit by extreme weather events particularly floods, cyclones and drought".

Sometimes these events have caused loss of human life, destruction of socio-economic infrastructures, destruction of crops and biodiversity, as well as environmental degradation, causing huge setbacks in the progress made to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

According to Guebuza, this is one of the reasons "the theme of this conference reverberates in each of the 22 million Mozambican inhabitants, and is in close harmony with the future aspired by the humankind".

He stressed, however, that the conference is an important step because it consolidates the paradigm that the world has been building since 1992 that there is no alternative to sustainable development.

Guebuza explained that "in Mozambique, and in the context of fight against poverty, our current domestic agenda, which is the green economy, has the ability to induce greater efficiency and innovative responses to meet a wide range of challenges we are facing, which could be summed up as sustainable development, climate change and the continuous crises that have shaken the world economy".

Aware that without a green economy that world would be unable to survive, the Mozambican government decided to take a major step by launching on Thursday its own roadmap for the implementation of a green economy in the country, which is willing to share with the international community.

He explained that this with initiative "we modestly want underline our willingness to participate in this collective effort on a global scale to preserve biodiversity and improve efficiency in the use of natural resources.

The roadmap represents our vision, will and determination to realize our dreams", he said", to later emphasize that "Mozambique has fulfilled its role and is willing to continue to do its part."

According to Guebuza, practical steps have already been taken with the adoption of a regulatory framework and institutional development, as well as the establishment of institutions responsible for promoting sustainable development."

"We are pleased to announce that 24 per cent of our national territory now consists of conservation areas. Also, we produced a book of environmental statistics which formed the basis for designing the 5-Year Report of the State of the Environment. Of particular interest is the study Strategic Environmental Assessment for Coastal Areas, which will be instrumental to improve planning of activities for the exploitation of coastal resources," he said.

Guebuza finished his speech warning that "the decision to save our planet and ensure the future of humankind must be taken today, because tomorrow we might be sorry as it might be too late."

Speaking during a press conference, shortly after his speech, Guebuza admitted that the summit failed to reach a consensus on many issues that were at the negotiating table.

He acknowledged that the summit only agreed what was possible at the time and the agreement signed on Friday at the end of the event was far from what would have been desired.

Guebuza believes that there are still countries with interests which differ from others that instead demand bolder measures for the defence of the environment.

For Guebuza those world leaders who still think that by refusing to adopt all the necessary measures to protect the environment is for the best of their countries are unaware they are on the wrong side, because the best defence for every country's interests is to heed the calls from experts to prevent the destruction of the world.

He concluded warning in the event of environment destruction human life itself will be unsustainable.

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