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Africa Environment Outlook

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Africa Environment Tracking

The African continent is rich in natural resources, many of high international value in terms of both monetary and global significance. The continent currently has six of the world's 25 biodiversity hot spots. Its resources are also of global importance for the world's climate and for the development of agriculture or industrial activities. The region has more than 50 000 known plant species, 1 500 species of birds and 1 000 mammals (NEPAD 2003).

Despite the richness of its biological, mineral and human resources, the continent remains poor. Food insecurity threatens millions each year, especially in the Horn and Southern African sub regions, and Africa is home to more malnourished people than any other continent. Various processes of environmental degradation threaten agricultural and pastoral lands, watersheds, surface and groundwater sources, and the rich forests and savannahs of the continent.
Africa Environment Tracking: Issues and Developments  

In response to such challenges, the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) was established in 1985 to strengthen cooperation between African governments in policy responses and on technical and scientific activities to halt the degradation of Africa's environment and satisfy the food and energy needs of the continent's people.

The 9th AMCEN session adopted the AEO report as a tool for monitoring sustainable environmental management in Africa and also to act as the environmental reporting framework at national levels. It would also be used as a tool for monitoring the implementation of AMCEN programme and NEPAD's Environment Programme. UNEP was requested to continue assisting AMCEN in producing the AEO on regular basis and also to establish an Africa Environment Information Network (AEIN) to support the production process.

This publication is a complementary product of the AEO and it summarizes major environmental events and trends from July 2002 – November 2004, focusing on poverty and environment, freshwater, land, biodiversity, environmental emergencies and security, small island developing states, climate change and the major regional institutional developments in the area of environment. The objective is to keep these rapidly evolving issues in the focus of the decision makers in the region and stimulate timely action to address them. [More details...]