African Finance Ministers Discuss Climate Change and Development

30 March 2010: The 2010 Joint Annual Meetings of the African Union (AU) Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance, and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Development, took place on 29-30 March 2010, in Lilogwe, Malawi. The meetings were preceded by the Committee of Experts meeting, which took place from 25-28 March 2010.

The Experts meeting considered a report titled “Climate Change and Development in Africa,” which includes policy recommendations on: integrating climate change needs into national decision making, so as to reduce its negative effects on resources, livelihoods and the wider economy; strengthening Africa's coordination and negotiation structures and mechanisms in light of the lessons learned at Copenhagen, to ensure that Africa continues to participate effectively in the international climate change negotiations and to refine its positions for the 2010 negotiations; requesting more reforms in the current governance system for climate change financing and the quick operationalization of the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund; and building countries' institutional, technical and managerial capacities to effectively access and use these funds.

In addition, the report suggested that the Climdev-Africa Programme and its entities be fully and urgently operationalized, to ensure that African negotiators and policy makers at all levels receive the needed support to effectively participate in the upcoming climate change negotiations and to implement on-the-ground adaptation projects. Finally, to ensure the sustainability of ongoing interventions aimed at addressing the climate change challenge in Africa, the report notes the need to develop a sub-programme on climate change and development at UNECA.

Addressing the Conference of Ministers, Abdoulie Janneh, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNECA Executive Secretary, stressed the need for Africa to act collectively in order to reduce its vulnerability to external shocks while ensuring that international processes take account of its interests and concerns, in particular in the context of the climate change. Janneh remarked that Africa's decision to negotiate “as one” at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference enabled the continent to “move from being victims to active participants in shaping a post-Kyoto climate change regime.” He called on finance ministers to ensure sufficient resources to meet the costs of mitigation and adaptation, while ensuring that the potential contribution of carbon trading to development financing is actualized.

In his statement to the Conference of Ministers, Cheick Sidi Diarra, Under-Secretary General, Special Adviser for Africa and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), stressed that developed countries should support LDCs to adapt to climate change through providing adequate, predictable, sustainable financial resources aimed at reducing vulnerability and to enabling them to strengthen their resilience to climate change, as called for in the Copenhagen Accord. [Meeting Website] [Janneh's Statement] [Diarra's Statement] [The Report]