Paris Peace Forum : President Biya Joins New Global Initiative
The efforts by France to reinvigorate multilateral approach to world problems has attracted many leaders.
Thirty Heads of State including President Paul Biya of Cameroon and Heads of Government alongside the United Nations Organisation, the European Union, Asian, Indian and Civil Society organisations assembled in Paris, France yesterday 12 November 2019 for a two-day peace forum. Convened by French President, Emmanuel Macron the Summit is out to encourage a proactive strategy to growing challenges facing humanity. President Paul Biya who arrived in Paris on Sunday for the event took an active part at the official opening ceremony before moving to present Cameroon’s position on the various subjects at a panelled discussion chaired by business magnet and civil society activist on political freedom and democracy, Mo Ibrahim.
Before the keynote address of host President Emmanuel Macron, several speakers mounted the rostrum to give an insight into the core issues of the conference. The President of the steering Committee of the Paris Peace Forum (PPF) and Indian Civil Society activist who has a soft spot for endangered species, Trisha Shetty opened the talks. She wondered about the faith of those who suffer because they question failed leadership and also posed the question of over 150 – 200 endangered species faced with extinction each day. Shetty expressed the hope that the PPF should not end with idle talks.
She was followed by another lady, Ursula von der Leyen who is the President-elect of the European Union Commission. While recalling the horrors that war has caused in Europe, she insisted on the need for humanity to abhor the consequences of disputes and conflicts saying international differences should be settled around the table and never otherwise. Europe, Ursula von der Leyen urged, should play a central role in tackling the challenges facing the world today.
Presenting the Chinese vision of peace and international solidarity, Mr Wang Qishan, Vice President of the People’s Republic of China traced the path that his country has followed since 1949 saying China has known several wars and disasters. Consequently, Mr Wang noted that his country is not only out to market its vision of socialism but also value the virtues of peace and collective action in tackling hurdles that humanity face. While struggling to convince the attendees that China is a developing country and not a developed nation, Vice President Wang denounced unilateralism, populism and protectionism saying cooperation and dialogue among nations of the world remained the ideal approach to solving problems.
The voice of the African Continent at the opening ceremony came from the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Felix Tshisekedi. He expressed the wish that Africa should seize to be a problem to the world and transform itself into a partner in tackling global issues. On that score, he however admitted that the continent is still a long way from affirming itself due to basic problems of job provision to the youth, healthcare, famine, conflicts and terrorism which continue to hold back Africa from experiencing real progress. He noted that peace is not just the silence of arms but the ability to provide viable solutions to the problems he cited in Africa saying collective action could help solve the setback that the world is facing in this modern age.
While expressing appreciation to the likes of President Paul Biya and 29 other Heads of State who honoured the rendezvous to the second PPF, French President Emmanuel Macron deplored those who stayed away arguing that multilateralism remained the best way forward for the world. “We are experiencing an unprecedented crisis with our international system” President Macron persisted adding that complaisance with the existing international instruments was no longer enough because Globalisation has made it possible for people to easily identify the weaknesses of leadership across the globe. He observed that the fight against terrorism, climate change, emergence of destabilising factors, governance challenges, fighting inequalities, and so on required new forms of international cooperation.
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