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Connect the World
Progress Reported At New Round of Libyan Peace Talks; Taliban Making Gains In Afghanistan As U.S. Troops Withdraw; UK Disputes Russian Claim It Fired On H.M.S. Defender; Some Countries Using Chinese Vaccines Now Offering 3rd Dose; Cape Cormorant Rescue Operation; Gabon Gets Paid $17 Million for Lowering Carbon. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired June 24, 2021 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN, Abu Dhabi, this is "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNNI HOST: Welcome back America's top diplomat leaving Berlin at this hour on a high note, Antony Blinken describing earlier talks
with Libya's Interim Prime Minister as productive now the U.S. Secretary of State also pledging support for the Libyan people as he had or they head
for election in December, scheduled elections in December.
Blinken, Libya's Interim government has been at the table in Berlin for these Libyan peace talks along with the foreign ministers of France of
Turkey and of Egypt. They are pushing to route the North African nation of mercenaries and keep that planned vote on track.
More than anything war ravaged Libya, once a lasting peace well only moves towards a new political future for the oil rich country will certainly
include Turkey. I'm connecting you now to Istanbul and CNN's Arwa Damon.
Turkey and a myriad of others need to decide what they are going to do next with regard Libya? This is a country for Libya, of course, but so many
outside forces involved. What do you make of what came out of this crucial meeting?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Becky, you know, we're talking about this meeting about all of these other countries that
need to decide what happens to Libya?
And that is part of the reason why right now you're actually seeing this sense of unity, even if it is just surrounding this interim government
among these two main warring sides, in the contrary, because they themselves to a certain degree recognize that they need to rid themselves
of all of these different foreign influences.
The Libyan people are desperate to not just have stability and security but also an actual, free, independent, democratic nation. Now the road ahead is
not going to be easy. But based on what we heard from both Secretary Blinken as well as Libya's Interim Prime Minister, well, both men do sound
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S.SECRETARY OF STATE: --welcome again, and so pleased to have this opportunity to see you as the Prime Minister - delegation,
especially after the very good day we had yesterday, which I think demonstrated, again, the very strong support on the part of the
international community, the United Nations for Libya, for a strong, positive future as unified, independent, stable country without the foreign
ABDUL HAMID DBEIBAH, LIBYAN INTERIM PRIME MINISTER: We have many difficulties and challenges ahead. We are counting a lot on the United
States to collaborate with us in many fields, especially international cooperation, building international relationships, and especially
concerning the countries that are involved in Libya.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAMON: And of course, those countries that are involved in Libya, Becky have their own issues amongst each other. Libya is not just potentially at
risk from its own internal dynamics, but external relationships as well. Again, another factor that led to the situation that we're seeing right now
is the reality that the U.S. and Russia have been talking.
The Egyptians, Saudis and the UAE have ameliorated their relationship with Qatar and Turkey. And when it comes to those foreign fighters, these
mercenaries they exist on both sides of the spectrum. So they need to withdraw, they need to get out.
But it doesn't really end there either because the country also still needs a legal framework for the upcoming elections in December. And another key
part of all of this potentially down the line, who is actually going to have control of the country's myriad of armed forces, Becky?
ANDERSON: Yes. And Arwa I just wanted to be clear to our viewers, so just explain if you will, why was the interim prime minister made the point of
saying that the optimism that we saw reflected in those speeches out of Berlin? He says is as a result of the U.S. Washington's renewed
involvement. Why is that so significant?
DAMON: Well Becky, I think on the one hand he wants to demonstrate that he, as Libya's Interim Prime Minister, does have the support, or at least to
stating that he has the support of the United States, perhaps this is one would argue a signal to all of these other countries that have been
involved in what's been happening in Libya.
Again, you have the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, France, Italy, Turkey, and others, that the United States is back in the game as well. And that needs
to add a different dimension and dynamic to all of this.
Remember, with the Biden Administration, now we have a very different U.S. foreign policy in the sense that the U.S. is much more engaged in what is
happening. The U.S. definitely does want to see a stable Libya, a country that, you know, historically, especially as it disintegrated, as these two
main parties began fighting each other.
Libya disintegrated into a country that was a safe haven for any number of terrorist organizations. So the fact that the U.S. is back in the game is
back at the table is willing to stand there with the interim prime minister hold these closed door meetings, that potentially also sends a signal to
the Libyan people, to the warring factions, and to all of the other countries that have been meddling in Libya's affairs as well.
ANDERSON: Arwa Damon is in Turkey. Arwa has been on many deployments in Libya over the years as a correspondent, Arwa thank you.
Well, another foreign policy concern for Secretary Blinken and indeed, the Biden Administration is the upcoming withdrawal of U.S. troops from
Afghanistan this September. Well, that comes as the Taliban is reasserting its control in the region in the country.
In fact, the U.N. estimates that the group has taken over at least 50 districts since May raising concerns about the country's future stability.
My colleague, Nic Robertson now takes a look at the situation on the ground.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice over): In a recently overrun army base in Northern Afghanistan, Taliban show off
captured heavy weapons and ammunition. CNN cannot verify the authenticity of the videos or the date they were filmed.
And Afghan security officials could not confirm or deny Taliban claims in these videos to CNN, but they do admit to losing dozens of towns in the
past fortnight. The Taliban claim 90 such victories in the past month. The U.N. says it's less 50 or 370 gone, but still very concerning.
DEBORAH LYONS, U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR AFGHANISTAN: Most districts that have been taken surround provincial capitals, suggesting that the
Taliban are positioning them to try and take these capitals once foreign forces are fully withdrawn.
ROBERTSON (voice over): At times, the Taliban claiming wins without firing a shot. In - a whole column of our partnered American made Afghan Army
Humvees are surrendered by government soldiers to the Taliban.
The soldiers dump their guns in a pile of valuable boost for the Taliban who are fighting hundreds of miles from their heartland in the south and
east. Afghan government officials say they're sending reinforcements to take back control and claim without proof to have killed hundreds of
ROBERTSON (on camera): The Taliban offensive appears to take advantage of the U.S. and NATO drawdown limiting air support for Afghan troops on the
ground and raises questions about their intent at peace talks in Doha with the Afghan government.
It's also significant that they're attacking the north they covered the Afghan conflict in the 90s when the Taliban were fighting their way up the
country. It took them years to get up to the north. This will send a very chilling message to Afghans.
ROBERTSON (voice over): The Taliban surge also a concern for U.S. forces that agreed their own ceasefire with the Taliban as they exit their longest
war, but hoped they might leave the country at peace.
JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Every day the situation in Afghanistan changes as the Taliban continue to conduct these attacks and to
raid district centers as well as the violence which is still too high.
ROBERTSON (voice over): On Friday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani meets President Biden with final U.S. forces more than half gone hard to see an
easy reverse to the Taliban's gains. Nic Robertson, CNN, London.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, in a recent CNN op-ed my next guest writes "Afghan women turned their burgers into a tool for feminist activism showing the world
what was happening in a hooping the world would respond".
Lina AbiRafeh now joins me. She's the Executive Director of the Arab Institute for Women at the Lebanese American University. And Lina I spoke
with one prominent woman in Afghanistan, or she's actually in Doha, but from Afghanistan, a former member of parliament, and one of only four on
the Afghan government's negotiating team with the Taliban in Doha at present. Have a listen to what Fawzia Koofi told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAWZIA KOOFI, MEMBER OF THE AFGHAN GOVERNMENT NEGOTIATING TEAM: I think I can be very frank on this, I feel betrayal because being an ally for 20
years being in the forefront of, you know, promoting the common principle values of human rights of democracy, of education, of the things that
people of Afghanistan very well deserved.
Being, as you know, the portrait of an achievement for the international community in Afghanistan now, when did your national community withdraw?
They do not even consult women of Afghanistan?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: She feels Lina betrayed your response?
LINA ABIRAFEH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ARAB INSTITUTE FOR WOMEN, LEBANESE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: Thank you. I think Fawzia Koofi's sentiments are
echoed across Afghanistan. After two decades and America's longest war and so much rhetoric to liberate Afghan women it's worth asking them if that
liberation has, in fact been achieved.
And I think they would argue that it hasn't. There's been a backsliding in terms of gains made, and Afghan women are holding their breath. They're
really resting on very precarious ground. At the same time, they have been actively liberating themselves since the very beginning.
They've been working on this since before we arrived, they'll continue to do so after we leave. But what we owe them is a better response, greater
support, and to fulfill the commitments that we made to them in the very beginning of the intervention.
ANDERSON: Look, we all know what the Taliban's approach towards women and women's education is? As my colleague, Nic was just reporting, the group is
gaining more control, particularly in the north of the country. Just how concerned are you that should they take over a large swathe of the country
and grow stronger? What the impact might be for the women of Afghanistan?
ABIRAFEH: Already the impact is very serious. We've seen greater human rights violations, more school closures, increased violence against women.
The World Economic Forum reports that Afghanistan is the worst place to be a woman that's not for nothing, it's quite serious.
Even though there have been some gains made with children in school, we still have two thirds of girls who are out of school with women's literacy
for instance, there have been improvements, but 70 percent of Afghan women and girls still can't read or write.
And for me, the most alarming situation is violence against women that is increasing. 80 percent, if not more women, Afghan women and girls have
experienced abuse, many in the home, women's security in the home is a reflection of the security in the country.
And if women can't be safe at home, they're not safe at all. And if women are not safe, then no one is safe. They should be the barometer by which
the entire intervention is judged. When I lived there, I spent four years working very closely with Afghan women.
And what I saw was a lot of strength and resilience and courage, and the ability to speak out and strong voices. But are we listening? Do they have
a microphone? Are we doing everything we can to amplify the work that they're already doing?
ANDERSON: And, of course, Fawzia involved in these peace talks, these stall talks with the Taliban. And she continues, of course, to play a significant
role and will do in anything, any future for those talks wherever they might be.
But ultimately, how concerned are you that these talks are stalled? It seems at least for the time being the Taliban isn't going anywhere?
ABIRAFEH: Well, I've worked in conflict context worldwide. And what I've seen is if women are not engaged in every aspect of the peace process, it's
a piece on shaky ground. When women are involved, that piece is better, stronger and lasts longer. And we've seen that absolutely everywhere.
And if Afghan women are saying that they are not involved or engaged or comfortable with the way things have happened, then that is a very shaky
piece. So I'm in fact I'm quite worried.
ANDERSON: President Biden has said that the American withdrawal from Afghanistan is justifiable because he says forces have made certain that
Afghanistan cannot again, become a base for foreign jihad to plot against the West.
ANDERSON: That withdrawal, he says will be complete by September the 11th 2021, which of course is a very symbolic day. It would be the anniversary,
the 20 year anniversary of the falling of the Twin Towers, blamed, of course, on Al Qaeda who were being harbored by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Do you agree with that assessment?
You know, enough about what's going on in Afghanistan? Do you agree that this withdrawal is right, justifiable and responsible at this point?
ABIRAFEH: I think there's a risk of a leadership vacuum, and it could jeopardize the gains that have been made for women. The occupation
eventually has to end. But what I would hope to see is a responsible end, an accountable end and one that is accountable, in particular to Afghan
And if women like I said are not engaged, there is no possibility of peace in the country. They are the ones that have been actively working for it.
They have been fighting battles, running schools, risking their own lives to educate their girls.
They've shown us the abuses of the Taliban. So they're the ones who really need to be leading this peace. And I think it will be more sustainable and
more meaningful if they do so.
ANDERSON: Yes. Fawzia yesterday, when I was speaking to her said that she is so disappointed. She was effectively she felt that the Americans in
withdrawing would certainly at least use their leverage to ensure that there was some sort of peace process still ongoing, as it were.
And that the Americans really pushed to ensure some prospects for peace and stability, particularly for women going forward. Do you share her
disappointment, her sense of betrayal?
ABIRAFEH: I absolutely share her concerns. And what I think is important is that we should be funding the very organizations that are working on the
ground, the Afghan women's groups, the Afghan feminists, the frontline workers, who've been leading the charge for change since the beginning.
And if they're the ones saying, they're not involved, they're afraid they don't have the tools and resources to advance. They're worried about gains
loss. They're worried about losing fundamental freedoms and rights. That is a concern. And that raises an alarm for me and that's the voice we should
ANDERSON: You know, with that, we leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us.
ABIRAFEH: Thank you.
ANDERSON: Well, next up seeing red over the Black Sea. Well, the Kremlin has had fierce words for the UK the day after a confrontation between both
sides. And this hour thousands more people forced from their homes as violence consumes Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. We will speak to
UNICEF about their efforts there to help children and families.
And later this hour, the Central African Nation of Gabon makes history. It has received millions of dollars for its climate change efforts, why? Well,
we will speak to one official there about that.
ANDERSON: A Miami Dade County Commissioner says that 51 people remain unaccounted for after what has been the partial collapse of a residential
building. I want to show you this video said to be taken the moment this building fell.
This happened early this morning in Surfside, which is a town just north of Miami Beach. Roughly half of the buildings 130 units reduced to rubble. One
person is confirmed dead. So far, nearly three dozen others have been rescued. One was a 10-year-old boy pulled from the rubble alive. A resident
described the scene after the collapse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARRY COHEN, RESIDENT OF PARTIALLY COLLAPSED BUILDING: I walked down the hallway and it's a very long hallway probably 100 yards, 75 yards and there
was nothing there. It was just a pile of dust and rubble and paint falling from the ceilings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, search and rescue operations are continuing hampered I'm afraid by to a certain degree by bad weather. The cause of the collapse is
still unclear. There was construction material, we are told on the roof.
Well, a naval confrontation and a verbal escalation. I want to connect you now to events in the Black Sea and the fallout from an encounter between a
British warship and Russian forces. Now the Kremlin says that British warship "HMS Defender" carried out a "Deliberate, planned provocation", and
it said Russian warplanes dropped bombs on the destroy in defense, while a troll boat fired warning shots.
Officials in the UK are disputing Moscow's claims. The British Prime Minister insists the warship was acting legally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Well, I think it was wholly appropriate to use international waters. And by the way, the important
point is that we don't recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea. This is part of a sovereign Ukrainian territory. It was entirely right, that we
should vindicate the law and pursue freedom of navigation in the way that we take the shortest route between two points. And that's what we do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Matthew Chance is on the story from Moscow. Matthew, I've sort of laid out, you know, what we understand to have happened? Do you have any
more details? And just how significant is this?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, look, the details are, you know, depending on which side you listen to, they
vary. But I think what's clear is that this British warship, passed very close or passed into the waters around the Crimean Peninsula.
And the problem with that is that those waters are disputed. Much of the international community, most of it, including Britain, regards those
waters as being the territorial waters of Ukraine. But because Russia annexed the territory in 2014, and has since absorbed the territory into
the Russian Federation, Russia regards it as Russian territorial waters.
And so that's where the essential dispute lay. You know, Russia - from Russian point of view, this British warship entered their border, entered
their territorial waters. The British refused to acknowledge that. There's lots of other confusion surrounding the exact circumstances as well.
The Russians say they bombed the path of the ship, the British deny that. The Russians say that their patrol boats fired warning shots towards the
ship, the British government, the British Defense Ministry, says that did not take place. And in fact, it was a sort of live fire exercise in the
region that they've been previously warned about the British very much trying to play down this diplomatic incident.
In terms of significance, well, I mean, I personally think it's very interesting. This is taking place so soon, after the Putin/Biden Summit
that took place in Geneva, Switzerland last week. That was meant for the United States to deliver a message to Russia that it shouldn't engage any
further in malign activity.
And one of the malign activities, of course, for which it has been sanctioned, is the annexation of Crimea. And this was a restatement by the
Russians. I think that Ukraine, Crimea rather, was not something that was up from negotiation. They're not going to back down or climb down on that
issue. I think that very much underlined that Russian position here, Becky.
ANDERSON: Matthew Chance is in Moscow. Thank you, Matthew. Well the UK keen to see the return of tourist dollars as it struggles to emerge of course
from COVID lockdown. So the government is expected to be adding more countries to its so called "Green List" today to encourage more leisure
ANDERSON: But there are already some serious concerns from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She wants the EU - the EU already on thin ice in
the current fight against the highly infectious Delta variant of the virus. And she's fishing for other European nations to enforce a quarantine for
people traveling from regions where that variant is actively circulated.
And of course, that includes the UK. So it does beg the question, are governments moving too fast, or perhaps not fast enough? Cyril Vanier
joining us from London with that constant balancing acts between health and indeed the health of some of the world's largest or most advanced
CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Becky, it's a really interesting one, isn't it because it takes two to tango and to travel? Well, there's a
country that you're leaving, and there's a country you're arriving in. And if they're not agreed on what the travel policy is, then well, holiday
goers and travelers are going to be caught in the middle.
So that's kind of what we're seeing on the horizon right now. The UK Government said today Becky to loosen its travel restrictions, they're
going to add countries to the green list. We don't know which ones yet.
But add countries to the green list of countries to which British travelers can go without quarantining upon their return. And there is a possibility
that they're simply going to change the rules for vaccinated British travelers.
They're going to say, well, you can go to the so called amber countries that include all the European Mediterranean countries, France, Italy,
Spain, Portugal, the ones that Britons like to go to during the summer, that there will be - the vaccinated travelers fully vaccinated would be
able to go to those countries without quarantining when they come back.
But it's all well and good for the British government to say that, if indeed, that is what is announced later today. But European governments
have to play ball, and it seems that they might not. Germany has already imposed strict 14 day quarantine on British travelers, because of the Delta
variant, and we know that is of high concern to many European governments.
But what are France, Spain, and Italy going to do those countries that have the most to lose if Britons do not come and do not bring those tourism
dollars? What are they going to do? Are they going to listen to Angela Merkel, who says hey, we need to play it safe on the Delta variant?
Or are they going to listen to their tourism operators who are going to say, hey, we desperately need those tourists? We don't know. And we might
get a clear answer by the end of the day, Becky.
ANDERSON: Cyril Vanier on the story. Thank you, Cyril. Coming up, UNICEF cares for a young girl who witnessed unspeakable violence in the Eastern
Democratic Republic of Congo. Her story in the latest round of violence that has displaced so many is coming up.
ANDERSON: The Delta variant of the Coronavirus raising alarm bells around the world, have a look at this. This is a map of all the countries where it
has been detected. European CDC says a variant is spreading so fast it is on track to make up 90 percent of new COVID cases in the European Union by
the end of August.
And Cyril Vanier just before the break, alluding to just how difficult these decisions are about whether to open up or not to open up given that
this is out there and is spreading as fast as it is?
And India's Health Ministry says the Delta Plus variant first detected there has spread mostly outside India and is reported in nine other
countries. Well, the spread of the Delta variant is increasing urgency around the world to get people vaccinated.
But COVID cases are surging in several countries where vaccination rates are already high. One thing they have in common well they are mainly using
vaccines produced in China. David Culver takes a look at how that could impact future vaccine distribution globally?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): China's portrayed as an act of goodwill shipping Chinese made vaccines to other
countries even before guaranteeing enough for its own citizens. State media reports 350 million doses have gone out to more than 80 countries.
Among the nations on the receiving end, neighboring Mongolia and in South America, Chile both countries mobilized quickly to put those vaccines to
use. In Mongolia, more than 52 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, Chile just a bit less.
They are among the highest vaccination rates in the world, alongside countries like the U.S. and Israel. But why is it that as cases are
dropping in those countries, Mongolia and Chile are seeing surges of new COVID-19 infections.
Last week, Mongolia hit a record high in daily case counts and authorities in Chile announced a blanket lockdown across its Capital Santiago two weeks
BEN COWLING, DIVISION OF EPIDEMIOLOGY AND BIOSTATISTICS, UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: Some places where there's relatively high vaccine coverage and social
distancing measures have been relaxed. It may be that those measures are relaxed a little bit too soon.
CULVER (voice over): One of the most striking differences the types of vaccines, while the U.S. and Israel turned to Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna,
Mongolia and Chile are relying heavily on two from China, Sinovac and Sinopharm.
My team and I based here in China received our two doses of Sinopharm in recent months. The efficacy rates of the Chinese made vaccines containing
inactivated virus range from about 50 percent to 79 percent. Whereas U.S. backed to Pfizer and Moderna using mRNA science are more than 90 percent
Though the environments in which they were all trialed varied with different variants of the virus circulating, the American backed ones
appear to be much better at preventing transmission compared with China's vaccines.
COWLING: Right now what we can see very clearly is the antibody level in people who receive BioNTech is much higher, much, much higher than the
antibody level and people who received Sinovac.
CULVER (voice over): The W.H.O. authorized both Sinovac and Sinopharm for emergency use, despite the Chinese companies behind them providing limited
clinical trial data. But medical experts warn while less effective, this does not mean that Chinese vaccines are a failure.
COWLING: Somewhere like Chile, somewhere like Mongolia, vaccines have saved a lot of lives. But maybe they haven't been able to stop the virus from
spreading and causing mild infections in vaccinated people and then, of course, the potential for more severe infections in people who haven't yet
been vaccinated. And that's one of the limitations of less effective vaccine.
CULVER (voice over): While overall cases in Mongolia and Chile are on the rise, the vaccines may be helping lower the severity of those cases.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: If you look across the board and countries that have higher vaccination rates, those
hospitalization rates those death rates. While they may move around a little bit, they are probably a lot better now than they would have been
without the vaccines. Because the vaccines more than anything else regardless of which one it is help protect against severe illness and
CULVER (voice over): To better stop the spread of the virus countries like Bahrain and the UAE which have also relied heavily on China's Sinopharm are
now offering their citizens a third dose as a booster, the choices a third shot of Sinopharm or they can use the Pfizer vaccine as their booster. The
development and distribution of vaccines has become highly politicized, especially between the U.S. and China.
CULVER (voice over): And if both countries refuse to recognize each other's vaccines that could keep you limited to crossing borders based on the
vaccine you've gotten, potentially preventing international travel from returning to near normal for years to come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: David Culver reporting. Well, for months now we have been witnessing wave after wave of violence in the eastern part of the
Democratic Republic of Congo. Well, now the agency UNICEF warns a simultaneous attack on two towns has forced thousands of people living here
in Ituri Province to abandon their homes, entire communities forced to flee to the Bunia area with little food or basic supplies.
The type of violence that people they have witnessed is unspeakable. UNICEF cites reports of entire families being hacked to death. The trauma has been
absolutely devastating for kids in the area. Many have been orphaned or separated from their families.
And UNICEF now providing counseling to, for example, a 12-year-old girl who arrived in Bunia earlier this month, have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know where my grandmother is? When there was the attack everyone took different paths fleeing. And when I saw a vehicle
that was coming this way I got inside. I don't know where my grandmother is now.
They arrived at 4 am. They were firing bullets everywhere. They were killing people and I fled at once. As they fled I saw a mother whose head
had been cut off. I kept hearing more and more gunshots. I was scared and I continued to flee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, joining me now from Goma in the DRC is Alastair Lawson Tancred, who is Communications Officer for UNICEF. And that story is
absolutely heartbreaking and horrific. Violence has been endemic in DRC's, mineral rich eastern regions, since the Civil War ended in 2003, but of
course, insecurities soaring in the past couple of years.
That young girl Grace, who has been separated from members of her family, has witnessed unspeakable violence firsthand. What more do you know about
ALASTAIR LAWSON TANCRED, COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER, UNICEF: Well, I can tell you and as you can probably see for yourself, she's an extremely brave
girl, because you have to remember that not only was she displaced with the bullets flying and - and she witnessing people been machete to death during
the attack on her town, she also had to make the hazardous journey by herself from Bogo to Bunia.
It's over 100 kilometers journey she made. And it was incredibly brave of her. She arrived in a camp for displaced people in Bunia by herself and was
taken in by a kindly family who has a shelter in the camp in Bunia. But it's very tough conditions because you imagine the shelter is very, very
small it's about the size of half a squash court.
There are already eight or so people living in the shelter with small children. So she - in a way she was lucky to be taken in. But in many other
respects, this girl has suffered far too much.
ANDERSON: Alastair, just give our viewers a sense of the crisis, the scale of the crisis unfolding there and why?
TANCRED: What is heartbreaking really, I mean, the numbers in a way don't really do justice, because the numbers are statistics and the statistics
really represent a horrible disgusting cases of suffering as you've said on the ground. It's estimated that in Eastern Congo alone, around 3 million
children are displaced.
In Bunia and Ituri rather 1.6 million people are displaced and over half of those just by working it out are likely to be children. And these are
children who are not only deprived of a square meal a day and oftentimes it's difficult for them to get access to health care, although UNICEF and
other agencies are trying to help them do that.
Oftentimes, it's difficult for them to get a square meal. As I said, access to clean water is difficult and the problems of sanitation to a huge
because in the camp where this girl was in Bunia, there was a lot of open - I'm afraid there are no latrines.
And so as a result, vector-borne diseases like cholera, like cholera, like typhoid are omnipresent, and they're not really conditions that any child
should have to enjoy.
ANDERSON: Absolutely, not. Absolutely not, no should anybody enjoy these sorts of conditions. There are reports of armed groups attacking villages
and in some cases as sadly we just heard machete people to death.
ANDERSON: What has caused this violence to escalate so dramatically this time? And what can be done to end this vicious cycle of fighting in these
TANCRED: They're difficult questions and questions, I'm afraid that greater minds than mine have grappled with over the last three or so decades. I
think that there are so many armed groups operating in Eastern Congo. It's difficult really to pinpoint what all their motives what their ideology is?
And sometimes I'm afraid there's a bit of a thin dividing line between outright criminality and groups that are operating for an ideological
cause. The government is trying to do its best; it's trying to deploy more troops in the troubled east.
But the harsh truth I'm afraid is that in many areas of the east, especially rural areas, the government's mandate just doesn't hold firm.
And so there's a sort of culture of lawlessness there. There's a culture of impunity. And that sense of lawlessness, that sense of impunity is
especially damaging for children.
ANDERSON: There is of course, a lot of mineral wealth in the Eastern Congo little goes to the people. Why isn't there more action? And what does the
world need to do to take notice briefly?
Technology lets us down. I'm afraid we've lost that connection and not easy to get a connection to that part of the world. But you - you got the gist
sadly. Coming up, a massive rescue effort to save these cormorant chicks on South Africa's Robben Island, we'll tell you how it all turned out?
ANDERSON: It is time for "Call to Earth" where we continue to report on protecting marine life around the world. The presence of healthy seabirds
is an indicator of ocean health in general if the birds are doing well, so too is the ecosystem as a whole.
So when 2000 cormorant chicks were found abandoned off the Coast of Cape Town it triggered the second largest rescue operation the region has ever
seen. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): It's swim time at the SANCCOB Seabird Rescue Facility in Cape Town where these young Cape Cormorants have spent
the past six months being prepared for life in the wild.
DAVID ROBERTS, CLINICAL VETERINARIAN, SANCCOB: Before they get released, they really need to learn as quickly as possible to catch food for
themselves. So they must be able to fly and they must be able to swim underwater, catch fish and then come out and still be dry so they don't get
cold and wet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): In January 2021 some 2000 chicks were found abandoned by their parents on Robben Island. Nearly 60 years after
Nelson Mandela was first imprisoned on its rocky shores.
KATTA LUDYNIA, RESEARCH MANAGER, SANCCOB: So these parents were probably already struggling to find enough food for their chicks, then it was very
hot days, they just came to a point where they just couldn't deal and they decided to rather abandon their chicks and basically save their own lives.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): And that's when the South African foundation for the conservation of coastal birds swooped in.
LUDYNIA: So in total, we rescued over 2000 chicks is actually the second largest rescue we've ever undertaken in the Western Cape.
ROBERTS: So they were very weak, dehydrated and overheated the first few days really tough. We couldn't save them all. So we lost more than half of
our little chicks in the first few days. But after that, things got a lot better.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): To help as many to survive as possible the team had to take extreme measures.
ROBERTS: So when we feed them, we don't want them to think of people as a source of food. We've been wearing black outfits to hide the human shape
and to ensure that when you're putting the food down there, they don't think as a person doing it.
It's worked very well now. They associate this black flowing robe with the supplement feeding, but if somebody walks in and in normal clothes they
don't come in more view trying off giving food.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Their efforts were rewarded. The foundation says so far over thousand rescued Cape Cormorants have been
returned to nature.
LUDYNIA: We do what we call a soft release. So we've built an enclosure on Robben Island, they're still being fit there, they can see the wild birds
that are still rousting on the island they can smell, they can hear them so they can use to the environment.
After 48 hours we open the gates and the birds are free to do whatever they want. Some of them immediately join the wild birds do their own things,
other stick around its enclosure. But in the long run, we obviously hope that they learn to feed on themselves and then actually just re integrates
into the world population.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): And much like a former inhabitant of this iconic Island, bringing global attention to their plight.
LUDYNIA: So it is obviously nice for us to be able to rescue these birds and it helps a lot - awareness it is a huge industrial fishing for sardine
anchovy, which was obviously competing with our seabirds for the same resources. We know that climate change predicts more frequent heat waves.
So we expect to see these abandonments actually happening more often unless we get a handle on the fish stocks. Having these birds here has helped a
lot to explain to people that they are endangered, it does give us kind of a hope to be able to do something and we have raised basically alarm bells
to this rescue about the current state of those chicks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: And we will continue showcasing inspirational environmental stories like these. As part of the initiative at CNN, let us know what
you're doing to answer the call, use the #calltoearth. And we'll be right back.
ANDERSON: In a landmark move to help reduce climate change, Gabon is now the first African nation to get paid for lowering its carbon emissions. Now
U.N.-backed initiative has awarded the country $17 million, the first payout of a much larger deal for preserving its forests.
Gabon, mostly covered in forest is part of the Congo Basin in Central Africa, home to one of the world's largest rain forests and a key
contributor to balancing the global climate. Well, I want to bring in Lee White, Gabon's Minister for Forests, for Oceans, the Environment and
He joins us now from Gabon's capital of Libreville. Nearly 90 percent of Gabon covered by forests captures carbon, more carbon than your country
emits. The rainforests of course, a critical not just to the country, but to Africa's remaining forest elements, which are endangered. Just how
important is it for you that you have been awarded this and recognized for the work the country is doing?
LEE WHITE, GABON MINISTER FOR FORESTS, OCEANS, ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE: The great thing about this agreement with no ways that they
validate the systems that we've put in place over the last decade to monitor forests and to quantify our carbon emissions, and so we can now
show with confidence that Gabon is absorbing a net 100 million tons of CO2 every year.
So we're absorbing almost a third of the UK's annual emissions. And we're doing that by having the rain forests and preserving all of the wildlife
and the ecosystem services that go--
ANDERSON: So you have been awarded this money, 70 million of I think 150 million, which is terrific for effectively being on target to reach your
carbon cutting targets through rain forest conservation. Are you confident that you will meet those goals?
WHITE: We will. We've got a long track record with over the last three decades; we've kept deforestation down below 0.1 percent. We're at high
forest low deforestation country, in the extreme with Suriname, with Guyana.
And we are one of the very few countries on the planet today that are carbon negative, we're sucking in more CO2 every year than we emit.
ANDERSON: So the economy, of course, is almost fully reliant on revenues from oil extraction. You said moving forward, you want to find more ways to
turn trees into a source of income. How will that work? And will it be enough to transition your economy away from oil, that pivot will have to
happen if you are to meet and continue to achieve these carbon neutral targets surely.
WHITE: It is. I mean, we already offset five times more CO2 than we emit from our oil exports. But the oil industry is going to disappear in the
next 10, 15 years because of climate change as we shift to renewable energy and electric cars and so on.
And so we have to find a way to replace oil in our economy. And we're convinced that we can do that through sustainable harvesting of our rain
forests, by transforming the wood from our forests in country to create jobs for the Gabonese people.
And by my calculations, we can multiply our forest economy by 20 times over the next 15 years, all the while maintaining the carbon stocks of our
forest and maintaining the integrity of the forest. And so that's now the vision of the Gabonese government.
ANDERSON: Do you think there should be more financial incentives in place like the one that we have talked about today, to help emerging market
economies adapt to a greener future? I mean, we've talked a lot in the last couple of months and in the lead up to COP 28 we will talk more about this
energy transition and about how the financial benefits need to outweigh the costs.
And to many countries the financial incentives are almost 100 percent behind whether or not they can get into an energy transition environment.
WHITE: Yes, there are many things we need to correct. When we sell beautiful pure rainforest carbon, it's worth $5 a ton.
WHITE: And when in Europe, they sell what I would qualify as dirty, coal fired carbon. It's worth $75 a ton today. We need to give true value to
these ecosystem services. And when you look at Gabon's forests in the Congo Basin forests, Congo Basin is generating the rainfall in the Sahel that's
generating the rainfall in Ethiopia.
And if we lose the Congo Basin forests, which hold about 10 years of global emissions, we lose the fight against climate change. And so we absolutely
have to find a way to make maintaining the forests an economic reality for the countries of the Congo Basin.
ANDERSON: Yes and the Congo Basin, of course is under severe threat. It's been fascinating to talk to you. Congratulations on the award and look
forward to hearing about how you will spend the full 150 million.
But applause for the efforts that are made as we continue to keep our eye on the climate crisis as we provide you more relevant content views on what
should be a climate safe future. Thank you, sir.
Well, for some more of those joyful moments to close out the show, Tokyo is welcoming not one but two new additions to one of its famous zoos, giant
panda Shin Shin has given birth to rare twin cubs, her first birth in four years.
The cubs are roughly the size of adult human hands, they are tiny. Pandas are notoriously difficult to breed in captivity. So this is a really very
welcome arrival. Shin Shin and her male partner Ri Ri are also already proud parents, so a female born in 2017. So they will certainly have their
hands full over the coming months.
In Amsterdam for the first time in more than 300 years, visitors will be able to see a famous artwork in full, thanks to artificial intelligence.
Rembrandt's famous 1642 work "The Night Watch" which you can see here, is back on display with its missing sections reinstated.
It was quite an undertaking. The website "Artnet" says the painting is massive three and a half by almost four and a half meters. Large strips of
the canvas had been cut away in 1715 during a move and have never been found.
Well, computer scientists and restorers used another artist's replica blended with Rembrandt style to recreate the classic. So artificial
intelligence connecting literally, connecting that masterpiece and we've been connecting your world and I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi, stay safe,
stay well Zain Asher next with "One World".