COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Vision to include Climate change

COMESA The East African Community (EAC),  the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern  African Development Community (SADC) have already initiated discussions  towards the establishment of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Climate change  programme to facilitate their long-term vision of working together. This was  announced by the EAC Deputy Secretary General, Productive and Social Sector Mr  Jean Claude Nsengiyumwa at the 4th Special Africa Ministerial  Conference on Environment (AMCEN), held in Bamako Mali on 15-16 September 2011.  Mr. Nsengiyumwa added that climate change programming focusing on policy  negotiations and programmatic activities, by the three Regional Economic Communities  (RECs) are currently underway through the Tripartite arrangement.

The COMESA-EAC-SADC tripartite  initiative was lauded by the meeting as being in line with the overall AMCEN  vision that seeks to have the whole of Africa speak with one voice at Climate  change fora.

The main objective of the Fourth Special Session of AMCEN was to  provide a platform for African countries to further consolidate and enhance  Africa’s common negotiating position for the  17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ([B]COP 17[/B]),  to be held in November/ December 2011 in  Durban South Africa. The special session   provided an opportunity for Ministers to discuss the Climate Green Fund  and Africa’s preparations for Rio+20, including the transitioning towards a  Green Economy and the need to strengthen international environmental governance  in the context of institutional framework for sustainable development.  The need to include agriculture in climate  change negotiations was emphasized.

Earlier Speaking at an experts  preparatory meeting, COMESA Climate change  advisor Dr Mclay Kanyangarara outlined decisions made by the joint COMESA  Ministers of Agriculture and Environment held in Swaziland in June this year.  Pointing out among other things that, the Ministers had decided that[I] [/I]Ministers of Agriculture should   proactively engage in the  ongoing climate change discussions in the period up to, during and beyond COP  17; to ensure a decision is reached on agriculture which is responsive to the  African Situation.

The  African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) was established in  December 1985, following a conference of African ministers of environment held  in Cairo , Egypt . Its mandate is to provide advocacy for environmental  protection in Africa; to ensure that basic human needs are met adequately and  in a sustainable manner; to ensure that social and economic development is  realized at all levels; and to ensure that agricultural activities and  practices meet the food security needs of the region.

COMESA  and other RECs that have a climate change programme have been participating in  AMCEN meetings as building blocks of the African Union  that have a stake in ensuring that Africa’s  interests are advanced at continental level as well as in different  international fora. In this particular case, they are interested in ensuring  that  Africa’s demands at COP 17 are loud  and clear.

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