African Ministers Adopt the Nairobi Declaration on Climate
Nairobi, 2 June 2009 - On 29 May, ministers from more than 30 African countries adopted the Nairobi Declaration on climate at a weeklong special session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) in the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UNEP which hosts the AMCEN secretariat, told the meeting: "Africa's environment ministers have today signaled their resolve to be part of the solution to the climate change challenge by forging a unified position, within their diversity of economies, in advance of the crucial UN climate convention meeting in Copenhagen in just 192 days' time."
The landmark document highlighted the major challenges and opportunities that African countries face in the upcoming negotiations in Copenhagen on a climate agreement that will succeed the Kyoto Protocol. The Declaration urges all parties - and particularly the international community - to base increased support for Africa on the priorities for the continent, which include adaptation, capacity-building, financing and technology development and transfer.
The Declaration could not have come sooner. "Africa is in peril. The continent faces disease, limited food security and more," warned Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in a press conference on the last day of the meeting.
Climate change is clearly impacting Africa in every way. According to the latest indicators, globally the climate is changing more rapidly than estimated. Today, nine out of every ten recorded disasters are climate related. Rising temperatures and more frequent and prolonged floods, droughts and storms are impacting millions of people's lives. And Africa is feeling the brunt of the changing weather patterns. Increasing numbers of natural disasters have left people grappling with drought, flooded houses and growing poverty.
Home to some of the major ecosystems in the world, climate change is also threatening some 20-30 per cent of species in Africa which now face the danger of extinction if global warming continues. According to a detailed study by Mozambique's national Disaster Management Institute, over the next 20 years and beyond the country will be overwhelmed by more natural disasters like cyclones, floods, droughts and disease outbreak as a result of climate change.