Learning its lessons from the Ebola outbreak, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) took swift and decisive measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus when the first cases were detected in March, the country’s president told world leaders. , gathered virtually, at the United Nations General Assembly.
Speaking via a pre-recorded video, President Félix Antoine Tshilombo Tshisekedi said swift government action has reduced the death rate in the DRC from 10% in the early days of the pandemic to 2.5% today.
Recognizing the role of the United Nations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), in responding to the coronavirus pandemic, President Tshisekedi called for increased support in the areas of capacity building and technical assistance.
It also called for international efforts, including debt relief and “unfettered financing” to help developing countries recover from the pandemic and rebuild better.
The president also briefed the Assembly of his government’s efforts to promote human rights, while acknowledging that much remains to be done to combat sexual and gender-based violence.
It also calls for the Security Council to be reformed to make it more transparent, democratic and representative of the organization’s structure.
Need for climate action
The president of the DRC also highlighted the threats posed by climate change.
The effects are increasingly visible around the world, he said, adding that climate action and building a green economy “is not just a necessity, but an urgent duty.”
He underlined the DRC’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change, including through the conservation of its forests through a system of school gardens that aims to plant 1 billion trees in the coming years.
Worrying security situation
Expressing concern about the security situation in the east of the country, President Tshisekedi said that residual elements of the armed groups continue to spread death and desolation, attacking not only civilians and the national armed forces, but also the blue helmets they serve with the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the MONUSCO country.
Financing such groups through the illicit exploitation of natural resources which are then sold abroad must be neutralized through international sanctions, he urged.
Pending the outcome of MONUSCO’s strategic review, he said the DRC wants to see greater cooperation on the ground between the UN mission and national armed forces, particularly in areas where armed groups are present.
“My determination is to make those living in the east of the country smile as soon as possible,” said President Tshisekedi.