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Preface Annex 1
POLICY AND LEGAL RESPONSES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
COOPERATION AT MULTIPLE LEVELS
A striking feature of recent policy initiatives is the priority given to improving opportunities for cooperation at the global, regional, sub-regional and national levels.
Regional initiatives which create new levels of cooperation have taken place: many of these emphasize the commonness of Africa’s problems and the opportunity collaboration brings to solving these problems. The NEPAD-EAP is one such initiative. It was prepared through a consultative and participatory process under the leadership of AMCEN. It sought to identify the root causes of environmental degradation and the most effective projects from an environmental, institutional and financial perspective. The plan takes a long-term perspective and identifies eight programme areas and actions that African countries should adopt to maintain the integrity of the environment and ensure the sustainable use of their natural resources. It responds to some of the challenges of the MDGs – particularly goals Number 1 on eradicating poverty, Number 7 on environmental sustainability and Number 8 on developing a partnership for development, as well as to the general principles of Agenda 21.
At the sub-regional level, collaboration has also been an important policy focus. In some instances this is between countries, whereas in others it focuses on cooperation within a given country. Sub-regional cooperation is evident in a range of areas, from transboundary natural resource management to disaster responsiveness and early warning systems. The EAC Development Strategy emphasizes economic cooperation and development with a strong focus on the social dimension, and the role of the private sector and civil society is considered as central and crucial to regional development (EAC 2001).
There are several sub-regional initiatives that deal with monitoring and early warning. In the EAC the Regional Environment Assessment Guidelines for Shared Ecosystems of East Africa has been initiated. This builds on an earlier initiative by the then East African Cooperation, where the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources made specific recommendations on shared ecosystems, including developing regional environmental assessment procedures and guidelines for shared ecosystems. These assessment guidelines will form a basis for valuating activities in or near shared ecosystems that are likely to cause significant ecological, environmental, health and social impacts. Collaborative initiatives around food security and drought warning have been other areas of sub-regional collaboration, particularly in the SADC region. Box 6 looks at the importance of cooperation in developing early warning for the WIO Islands.