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African Union Holds Extraordinary Humanitarian Summit

May 29, 2022 (EIRNS)—The African Union hosted two extraordinary summits in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea over May 25-28, which were the Specialized Technical Committee Extraordinary Humanitarian Summit and Pledging Conference (May 23-24); Meeting of the Executive Council (May 25); Extraordinary Humanitarian Summit and Pledging Conference (May 27); Extraordinary Summit on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government (May 28);

AU Extraordinary Summit: Calendar of Side Events and the Extraordinary Summit on Unconstitutional Changes of Governments in Africa. The African Union website carries news and many of the speeches at the events.

The Extraordinary Humanitarian Summit was attended by about 20 African leaders and donors, according to Africanews, which planned to address multiple humanitarian crises that wrack the entire continent, and hoped for pledges of support from various organizations; it included the participation of UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths (who has also served as Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen since 2018).

The keynote was given on May 27 by AU Chairperson, Senegal President Macky Sall, who urged his counterparts to tackle the root causes of humanitarian crises on the continent.

“According to AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, 113 million Africans need urgent humanitarian assistance this year, including 48 million refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people. In a statement, the AU said 15 particularly hard-hit countries required urgent aid, with climate shocks and conflicts causing humanitarian needs to increase ‘exponentially,’ ” reported Africanews.

The second summit planned for May 28 focussed on terrorism and unconstitutional government changes (identified as “UCG”) which cause population displacement and insecurity. The AU webpage for the summit identifies the links to watch the opening and closing sessions, and the opening session’s speaker, as well as background.

On May 25, celebrated yearly as “Africa Day” that observes the 1963 founding of the Organization of African Unity—renamed the African Union by Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi in July 2002, when he was then the organization’s chairman—AU Commission Chairman Mahamat stated that “Africa has become the collateral victim of a distant conflict, that between Russia and Ukraine.... By profoundly upsetting the fragile global geopolitical and geostrategic balance, it has also cast a harsh light on the structural fragility of our economies.

“The most emblematic sign of these fragilities is the food crisis following the climatic disorders, the health crisis of COVID-19, amplified today by the conflict in Ukraine. This crisis is characterized by a shrinking world supply of agricultural products and a soaring inflation of food prices.”

For his part, UN Secretary General António Guterres sent a shockingly Malthusian video message to the summit, both boasting of the donation and admitting how insufficient the aid: “Our humanitarian operations are doing their utmost to help. Just last week, I announced the release of $30 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund, to meet urgent food security and nutrition needs in Niger, Mali, Chad and Burkina Faso, bringing the total funding channeled through CERF in the Sahel to nearly $95 million since the start of the year.

“But this is a drop in the ocean....”

After saying that “Over 281 million Africans—one in five—were undernourished in 2020,” he had the gall to end his remarks, insisting that Africa had to fight climate change above all: “Africa needs a massive boost in technical and financial support, to adapt to the impact of the climate emergency, and provide renewable electricity across the continent.

“Fifty per cent of climate finance must be allocated to adaptation.

“And developed countries must deliver on their $100 billion climate finance commitment to developing countries.

“We are also advocating for immediate action from international financial institutions, so that developing countries, especially in Africa, can invest in a strong recovery from the pandemic, based on renewable energy.”

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