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Environment Ministers to Gather this Week in Bamako to Firm Up Africa's Position ahead of Crucial Durban Conference on Climate Change
14/ 09/ 2011

Environment Ministers to Gather this Week in Bamako to Firm Up Africa's Position ahead of Crucial Durban Conference on Climate Change Meeting of experts to tackle issues left unresolved in the Cancun Agreements
Bamako (Mali)/Nairobi (Kenya), 13 September 2011- Lead African Climate change negotiators and high level experts from about 50 countries are meeting in Bamako, Mali to pave the way for African ministers to consolidate Africa's common negotiating on a comprehensive international Climate Change regime beyond 2012.
The experts' segment of the Fourth special session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) on climate change opened today at the International Conference Center in Bamako.
The conference brings together about 200 delegates representing countries, international organizations, research institutes and civil society organizations.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Environment and Sanitation of Mali and President of AMCEN Prof. Tiémoko Sangaré said: "It is critical for Africa to achieve sustained economic growth and eradicate poverty so as to be able to deal with the adverse impacts of climate change and we need to ensure that Africa's priorities are taken into account during the Durban negotiations".
He called on experts to carefully review the issues left unresolved issues in the "Cancun Agreements", as these issues will shape the discussions at the UN Seventeen conference on Climate change from 28 November to 9 December 2011 in December in Durban.
The need to stabilize global average temperatures at levels that are safe for developing countries, particularly in Africa is one of the pressing issues that require urgent attention. The UNEP Emission Gap Report confirms that current mitigation pledges ? unless strengthened ? will set the world on course for global warming of between 2.5 to 5°C.
Due to its geographic and physical characteristics Africa will warm around one-and-a-half times the global level, according to the Inter governmental Panel on Climate Change. More recent studies, based on historical information, project that warming of as little as 1°C could reduce agricultural production by 20% in certain crops and areas, in addition to other potentially significant adverse impacts for Africa and her development.
Other pending issues include finding a way forward under the Kyoto Protocol, how to raise and secure funds needed for the long-term climate financing and the legal form of a new climate agreement.
UNEP Regional Director for Africa, Mounkaila Goumandakoye said: "Africa is vulnerable to climate change but does not have to be a victim of climate change. We cannot defer the moment for action and for influencing the future. We expect this AMCEN meeting to develop a coherent strategy and messages for Durban, with the aim of securing balanced and ambitious outcomes that serve Africa's needs and interests".
During their deliberations, experts will also focus on the preparations for the United Nations Conference on sustainable development (Rio +20) to be held in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with the view to secure renewed international political commitment to sustainable development.
 Note to editors:
The experts' segment of the 4th special session of AMCEN on climate change will run from 13-14 September and will prepare the stage for the Ministerial Conference, which will be opened by the Prime Minister of Mali, President of the Republic of Mali, Mrs. CISSE Mariam Kaidama Sidibe on Thursday 15 September.
The Experts segment was preceded by a meeting of environment experts and representatives of ministries of foreign affairs on the international environmental governance within the international framework for sustainable development. The meeting aimed to discuss Africa's needs and priorities that will form the key elements of a continent's common position for Rio+20.
The African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) was established in 1985 as a forum to strengthen co-operation on environmental issues between African governments.
For more information, please contact
the AMCEN secretariat at

Further Resources
Fourth Special Session of AMCEN website
AMCEN website
African Ministerial Conference on the Environment official website
UNEP - Regional Office for Africa website