|Climate Change Talks for Africa Kick Off in Nairobi
The one-week session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) Special Session on Climate Change kicked off on 25th May, 2009 at UNEP’s Headquarters in Nairobi Kenya. As part of the background information on this gathering, the twelfth session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), held in Johannesburg in June 2008 focused its attention on climate change. A ministerial policy dialogue underscored the importance of the decision and outcomes of the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2007. A series of meetings have followed thereafter on this issue and much has been discussed and debated leading to a common approach towards the issue. However, as the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 15) in Copenhagen, Denmark, draws near, success for the region requires its special needs to be recognized and for its leaders to develop and push a concerted negotiating position. This consolidated effort will be the Special Session’s aim in order to produce a common African agenda.
Highlights of the morning session included an overview of prior meeting discussions since the 12th AMCEN Session on climate change in Africa and the situation on board now with relation to the region’s process on climate change and adaptation. It was greatly emphasized that most African countries make only a very small contribution towards global emissions of greenhouse gases such that they must not to be subject to binding emissions caps that could hamper their growth prospects. Most presenters agreed that an effective response to what has been described as the ‘issue of our century’ should focus on adaptation as well mobilizing financing and technology transfer to seize mitigation opportunities that can achieve a ‘win-win’ by promoting low-carbon technologies and advancing development aims. UNEP as well as Regional experts provided an in-depth edge on the UN-Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (UN-REDD) and a summary on the recent Ministerial Conference held in Kigali, Rwanda on Financing for Development on Climate Change. It was strongly brought out that the African region has to ensure international climate negotiations address Africa’s needs and a clear roadmap for making Copenhagen a success for Africa be laid out. The experts also agreed that their African leaders can and need to do more to put in place the policies and long-term strategies to foster adaptation.