Focus on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Desertification Interlinkages to Strengthen Sustainable Development Efforts in Africa
Keynote Address By Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, at the Opening of the 13th Session of the African Ministers' Conference on Environment (AMCEN) on Climate Change
Bamako (Mali), 23 June 2010 - President of the Republic Of Mali; Ministers; AU Commissioner, Madam Rhoda Peace Tumusiime; UNEP Executive Director, Mr. Achim Steiner; Heads of Inter- Governmental Organisations; Invited Speakers; AMCEN Secretariat; Distinguished Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen?
A warm welcome to you all. It is a great honour and privilege to address you at this auspicious occasion of the opening of the 13th Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment here in Bamako. This occasion is also of special significance in that the 13th Session marks 25 years of AMCEN's existence.
The theme for the thirteenth session is "Enhancing our understanding of the interrelationship between climate change, biodiversity and desertification for sustainable development". This theme presents a useful approach to expanding the strategic focus of AMCEN to include other important environmental issues facing the Continent - in addition and in relation to the challenges posed by climate change. Indeed, this theme of the 13th Session augers well for the ongoing work of AMCEN.
Ministers and distinguished delegates, we have a very full agenda ahead of us for the next three days. As the programme indicates, the Ministerial meeting will deliberate upon the implementation of decisions from the 12th Session, three policy dialogues on the implementation of the Rio Conventions (UNFCCC, UNCBD, UNCCD), as well as administrative issues related to AMCEN such as the status of the general trust fund, revised constitution, and issues related to AMCEN's integration into the African Union. We look forward to fruitful discussions on these issues over the next three days.