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Durban, December 8, 2011 – African leaders in Durban today said it was time Africa got is fair share of global climate finance. They strongly reiterated that, while Africa is determined to embark resolutely on the path of clean development, it needs adequate access to climate finance, with a clear link between development, adaptation and mitigation.
Closing the two-week UN Conference on Climate Change held in Africa, a high-level roundtable held at the Africa Pavilion featured prominent statesmen, international financiers and academics: Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi;the South African Minister in charge of the National Planning Commission Trevor Manuel; the Chairman of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping; the Minister of the Republic of Congo Forest Economy, Henri Djombo; the President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka;the Executive Secretary of the UN Under Secretary General of Economic Commission for Africa, Abdoulie Janneh; the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Kendeh Yumkella, and Professor Nicholas Stern, from the London School of Economics.
While Meles Zenawi said it was true that “Africa must today take the path of clean energy, whose production costs are significantly lowerthan fossil fuels,” he added that Africa still needed a transitional period to move gradually towards clean energy.
In this regard, Jean Ping noted with satisfaction that, “Africa came to the Durban climate talks in closed ranks. Had we come on an individual country basis, no one would have heard us, and we would have been unable to promote our interests.” He added: “This is the first time Africa participates in these discussions speaking with one voice. The result is here: our voice was heard.”The Chairman of the African Union Commission said failure was not an option when it came to these climate discussions. “There will be no winner or loser in this venture”, he said. “If we win, we win together, if we lose, we lose together!“
Donald Kaberuka said such cohesion is even more important in that “the only valid response to the global economic crisis will come from a return to growth. And growth will come from emerging economies and from Africa.” At a time when the world faces the dualinter-related challenges of poverty and climate change, Africa can engage on green growth path only if the Kyoto pledges on carbon credits are honoured and the Green Climate Fund is set up, he added. “We cannot fight climate change if we condemn Africa to poverty,” the African Development Bank president stressed. In this respect, he recalled the African Heads of State’s decision to create an Africa Green Fund to ease African countries’ access to climate resources, with equal allocation to mitigation and adaptation, through mobilising additional resources.
The Congolese Forest Economy Minister, Henri Djombo,concurred: “Access to carbon credits is a long, complex and cumbersome process. Africa now needs fair and transparent funding sources.”
“Resource mobilisation will inevitably need innovative solutions,” said the UNECA Executive Director. Abdoulie Janneh also felt it was time to set up appropriate institutions, at the national and continental levels.
In this respect, there is a need, as pointed out by Trevor Manuel, to strengthen regional economic communities and to promote regional integration.
In taking the leadership on climate issues, on the triple level of development/adaptation/mitigation, Africa can meet the challenge, Professor Stern observed.
At a time when Africa is receiving only 12 percent of climate finance, the continent has created an unprecedented platform to make its voice heard by supporting the discussions of the Group of African Negotiators. Located within the premises of the Seventeenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Africa Pavilion has demonstrated the ability of the continent to be a part of the solution to climate change problems. It hosted some 100 roundtables and high-level conferences covering all aspects of climate change in Africa.
With this rich content and a 500 square metre replica of the equatorial forest, the Africa Pavilion attracted more than 10,000 visitors.
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
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