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African Climate Change and Development Conference Urges Guidelines for African Policymakers

UNECE20 October 2012: The Second Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-II), “Advancing Knowledge, Policy and Practice in Climate Change and Development,” was organized around three sub-themes: climate services delivery for development; Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), with a focus on Africa; and outstanding issues in climate negotiations.

During the Conference, which took place from 19-20 October 2012, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, presentations focused on, inter alia: adaptation and disaster risk reduction (DRR); climate financing; green growth; and gender mainstreaming and technological innovation in energy access.

Addressing the CCDA-II opening session, Carlos Lopes, UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Executive Secretary, urged participants to develop clear, actionable guidelines for African policy makers to chart low-carbon and climate resilient development pathways and policies, particularly on agriculture, energy and water. He said the conference theme underscored the role of knowledge, informed by practice, to design policies promoting development in the face of climate change. Lopes also called for urgent attention to climate change negotiations, saying Africa should prepare its position “to obtain its unchanging objectives of obtaining access to more finance, appropriate technology, and capacity development needs.”

Drawing attention to climate change impacts, including droughts and floods, Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopian Prime Minister, stated that such events had influenced Ethiopia's commitment to address climate change. Lamin Barrow, African Development Bank (AfDB), noted the cost of climate change impacts in Africa amount to 3% of African GDP. He said that climate change “casts a long shadow on Africa's development aspirations, including prospects for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).”

Lopes dedicated CCDA-II to the late Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, recognizing his contributions as an African spokesperson on climate change and sustainable development. The Conference, which brought together over 250 participants, is part of the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) Programme, a joint initiative by the African Union Commission (AUC), UNECA and AfDB. [UNECA Press Release, 19 October 2012] [CCDA-II Website] [Lopes Statement] [UNECA Press release, 21 October 2012]