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Minister Fajon opens the 12th International Africa Day Conference

At Brdo pri Kranju, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Tanja Fajon opened the 12th International Africa Day Conference themed “Africa and Europe: Climate Security for the Future – Global Challenges, Local Action”. More than 350 participants from Slovenia and Africa will attend the two-day conference, which will include a rich cultural programme in addition to the political and economic sessions.

In her opening remarks, Minister Fajon drew attention to the devastating consequences of the climate crisis, demanding radical change: “If any issue can be called a global challenge, it is surely the consequences of climate change, which makes us all small and vulnerable. At the same time, climate change is also an opportunity to forge new partnerships or renew existing ones. As a small country, it is essential that Slovenia build partnerships around the globe and base its foreign policy on solidarity and respect.”

In her address, Minister Fajon also stressed the importance of partnership-based transfer of knowledge, technologies and innovations in the fight against climate change and the need to involve women and young people in policy making and climate action. “Young people are our future, their numbers are growing and they all have the right to live in prosperity and respect. If we cannot ensure this, we are literally forcing them to look elsewhere for a brighter future,” she added.

After the opening address, Minister Fajon took part in a panel of leaders – together with Nancy Tembo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malawi, Vincent Biruta, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Rwanda, Rui Alberto de Figueiredo Soares, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Regional Integration of Cape Verde, and Dhoihir Dhoulkamal, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Comoros. They discussed climate justice, effective models for global climate financing, and regional and local solutions for specific environmental challenges. The participants were joined by John F. Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Action via video link. Minister Fajon underlined the importance of cooperation in the protection of natural resources: “I often use terminology water diplomacy – because with managing water in peaceful and sustainable way, together, across borders, we can also better manage conflicts and violence and protect the well-being of our citizens.”

“Of course, the meeting with our African colleagues is also an opportunity for them to get to know Slovenia as a green country, a country that is a reliable partner, caring about poverty, energy and food security, peace, and dedicated to ending conflicts and wars,” Minister Fajon added in her media statement.

This was followed by a panel on the role of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in addressing climate change. The panellists agreed that climate change must become a regular topic of debate in the Security Council. They also called for the active role of regional organisations, such as the African Union, which know best the particular problems and the peoples' histories and difficulties.

The conference was also addressed by the President of the Republic of Slovenia Nataša Pirc Musar, who took over the patronage of the conference, and by the European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, via video link. The conference is hosted by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, which organises the event in cooperation with the Bled Strategic Forum, Chatham House and the European Commission.

After the political and economic section of the conference, a varied cultural programme will take place on Novi trg in Ljubljana, culminating in a concert by Ghanaian singer-songwriter Wiyalla accompanied by Slovenian musicians.

Opening address by Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia Tanja Fajon.