African Union Summit Discusses Climate Change Negotiations

27 July 2010: The 15th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) met from 25-27 July 2010, in Kampala, Uganda, following the 20th Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives Committee (19-20 July) and the 17th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council (22-23 July). Among other items, these meetings featured discussions of ongoing international climate change negotiations.

The Assembly endorsed the recommendations of the Committee of Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) on the streamlined single negotiation structure at ministerial and expert levels, with a view to ensuring effective coordination on climate change towards the 16th and 17th sessions of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC, to be held in Cancun, Mexico, in late 2010, and in South Africa in 2011, respectively. In addition, the Assembly endorsed the continued role of South Africa on the CAHOSCC in the run-up to COP17. African Governments expressed their intention to seek predictable and reliable financing to fight development challenges posed by climate change.

During the opening ceremony of the Assembly, on 25 July, Mexican President Felipe Calderón expressed hope that “in Cancún, all countries will be able to make a key contribution to the fight against climate change.” He stressed the need for African countries' support and pragmatic approach to ensure that the Cancún Climate Change Conference will be “the start of a new era of agreements on climate change and the environment.”

On 27 July, Malawi President Bingu Wa Mutharika, Chairperson of the AU, delivered a speech on the African Food Basket as a new focused approach to agriculture and food security as the springboard for growth supported by strategic transport infrastructure, energy development, information communication technology, and climate change mitigation. He also stressed the need for African countries to strengthen national institutions responsible for monitoring natural disasters and environmental changes. During the closing ceremony of the Assembly, he appealed to all AU member States to champion the African Common Position on Climate Change in various fora and play a role in mitigating climate change effects. [Summit Press Briefing] [South Africa press release] [Calderón's speech] [Mutharika's speech on the African Food Basket] [Mutharika's speech at the Summit closing]