On the occasion of the 38th International Women's Day, Afrik21 highlights the opinion of Arlette Soudan-Nonault, in the great concert of climate action. Concerned about an Africa unfairly hit by natural disasters, the Congolese Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Development and the Congo Basin demands openness and concreteness during major international meetings on environmental protection.
A determination that has clearly not wavered. That of mobilising the international community towards real action in the fight against climate change in Africa. Arlette Soudan-Nonault once again took to the stage on 3 March 2023, on the occasion of Africa Environment Day. “If countries continue with their current policies, global warming will not be 1.5 degrees in 2100 but 2.8 degrees, a far cry from the Paris Agreement, and with the near prospect of a total loss of control over our climate destiny,” warned the Congolese Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Development and the Congo Basin.
In this pressing context for the acceleration of the ecological transition, the Minister expresses her frankness every time she calls on developed countries to honour their climate commitments to the countries of the South. In November 2022, during the United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP 27) in Egypt, the Congolese woman slammed the door on the debates, believing that the speeches of the heads of state were leading nowhere and that the virtues of the Congo Basin were not recognised at their true value. “Africa, which only emits 4% of global emissions, has not been taken into account. We have come to talk about adaptation, we have come to talk about mitigation, we are good at mitigation, but as a responsible person, we must continue to reconcile mitigation and development, so we must move towards an energy transition with clean energy, so we need financing,” had defended the minister, who is also a Commander of the Congolese Order of Merit.
From journalist to environmental defender
If Arlette Soudan-Nonault expresses an ecological sensitivity, her freedom of tone for climate justice is certainly due to her professional past. The daughter of a diplomat, she lived and studied in Moscow, Russia, and Paris, France, before embarking on a career as a journalist in Brazzaville, Congo, between 1989 and 1997. At Radio Congo, she presented the news and produced programmes such as “Les stratèges du Look” and “Clin d’œil d’Arlette Soudan-Nonault”. She later became a press attaché at the Presidency of the Republic, before setting up her own communications consultancy.
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In addition to this professional ascension, which led her in turn to the high office of Minister of Tourism and Leisure on 30 April 2016 and Minister in charge of the Environment since 22 August 2017, journalism also gave her marriage. Arlette Soudan-Nonault is the wife of French journalist François Soudan, editorial director of Jeune Afrique magazine.
Also the Technical Coordinator of the Congo Basin Climate Commission since August 2017, Arlette Soudan-Nonault is currently at the heart of preparations for two important summits to be held in Brazzaville in June 2023. These are the summit of the world’s three largest basins and the summit on the global decade of afforestation.