UNEP Chief on Africa and the Green Economy
Remarks by Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
VII African Development Forum
Africa and the Green Economy
Addis Ababa, October 2010
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The world is awash with challenges climate change, food insecurity and persistent poverty and the loss of biodiversity and ecosystems, such as forests and freshwater.
In China last week the final meeting prior to the UN climate convention meeting in Cancun, Mexico, took place progress was imperceptible at best, and perhaps frozen on many fronts.
2010 was the year in which the world was supposed to have substantially reversed the rate of loss of biodiversity it has not happened.
And in Nagoya next week, the Convention on Biological Diversity meeting needs to step up the urgency across several fronts, including establishing a long awaited regime to recompense countries, including ones in Africa, for conserving and maintaining the genetic resources of increasing global economic importance.
In the Financial Times this week was the headline "Soaring Prices Threaten New Food Crisis" and another "Corn Prices Surge to Two Year High" corn prices are back to levels seen during the recent food crisis.
Meanwhile, in Indonesia, high surface sea temperatures are bleaching corals in a way last seen in places such as the Indian Ocean in the late 1990s.
And you only have to look to the floods in Pakistan or the heat waves in Russia this year?2010 has been marked by extreme weather events in line with the forecasts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
It may seem that escalating crises and the often glacial international response means countries, including those on the Africa continent, should bury their heads in the sand and wait for the inevitable.