July 7, 2010

Bamako Declaration Adopts Strategies For Climate, Biodiversity

Stories by Michael Simire Property & Environment Editor
http://www.independentngonline.com/DailyIndependent/Article.aspx?id=16457

The 13th Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) ended recently in Bamako, Mali with the adoption of the “Bamako Declaration,” the continent’s new road map for sustainable development and basis for strengthening the common negotiating position on climate change and biological diversity.

AMCEN’s in-coming President, Prof. Tiemoko Sangare, who is also the Minister of Environment and Sanitation of the Republic of Mali, led over 40 African Environment Ministers including Nigeria’s John Odey, who gathered at the Centre International de ConfĂ©rences de Bamako in deliberating and adopting a set of decisions and the 71-point declaration.

In adopting the Bamako Declaration, the ministers underlined how they expected their respective governments to engage both at the domestic and international levels in addressing issues of loss of biodiversity and access to benefit sharing as well as desertification and climate change challenges.

On biodiversity, the ministers declared to commit themselves to developing a common position for the continuing negotiations on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) under the Convention on Biological Diversity. To this end, they called upon the African Union and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to support African negotiators in the negotiation of a new international regime on access and benefit sharing.

To address the threat of desertification, the ministers urged the African Union Commission, with the continued support of the secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in countries experiencing serious drought and desertification in Africa, UNEP, UNDP, the Global Environment Facility and other partners, to implement the 10-year strategic plan and framework to enhance the implementation of the Convention (2008-2018).

Further, the ministers called on UN agencies to support the development and implementation of the Great Green Wall of the Sahara and the Sahel initiative. The ministers also called on countries to seek ways and opportunities to strengthen the synergies in the implementation of the conventions on climate change, desertification and biodiversity at the national and sub-regional levels in support of sustainable development for Africa.

“With these big steps forward, I see a much stronger, bolder Africa speaking with an even more consolidate voice at Nagoya and Cancun later in the year,” Sangare said, while closing the five-day long conference, whose theme was “Enhancing the interrelationship between climate change, biodiversity and desertification for sustainable development.”

Through their various representatives at the conference, the West African Economic Community (ECOWAS), the African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the South African Development Economic Community (SADEC), the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Pan African Parliament and the civil society pledged their continued support for AMCEN. They said the Bamako Declaration would strengthen partnerships with various organisations and governments, while broadening Africa’s negotiations agenda at the international level.

The Declaration also makes wide ranging proposals on tackling problems relating to waste, chemicals, health and the environment by urging governments to support the implementation of the Libreville Declaration of the Inter-Ministerial Conference on Health and Environment in Africa and the establishment of a strategic alliance for health and environment in the continent.

On cross-cutting issues, the ministers called on representatives at the joint annual meetings of the African Union Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and the UN Economic Commission for Africa Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to take specific steps in mainstreaming environmental issues in development planning.

The Declaration also makes wide-ranging recommendations on fostering a green economy transformation in Africa, the Africa environment outlook, technology supported learning and marine and coastal strategy.

The ministerial session, which culminated in the adoption of the Bamako Declaration, was preceded by Africa top level experts’ segment, which deliberated on opportunities that can be derived from addressing the effects of climate change and variability. The Segment also examined and discussed ways of updating the African Common Negotiating position on Climate Change in view of the next meeting of the 16th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCC to be held in Cancun, Mexico at the fall of 2010. They also examined the AMCEN Comprehensive Framework of African Climate Change Programmes.

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