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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