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EU/AU Commissions Discuss Climate, Biodiversity and UNCSD

1 June 2011: The fifth College-to-College meeting of the European Commission and the African Union (AU) Commission was held on 31 May-1 June 2011, in Brussels, Belgium, to develop shared policy agendas. During the meeting, participants discussed ways to enhance cooperation both on short-term challenges and on the long-term structural changes, such as green growth, climate change and biodiversity.

In the joint declaration adopted at the conclusion of the meeting, the representatives remain firmly committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as a matter of priority, emphasizing the promotion of inclusive and sustainable growth and generalized access to energy. They consider the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20), with its focus on green economy and link to poverty reduction, as a unique opportunity for the world to advance it commitments to sustainable development and address current environmental and social challenges.

On climate change, they welcome the results of the Cancun Climate Conference as a balanced package, stressing the need to continue negotiations to fully operationalize the Cancun Agreements focusing on the implementation of the adaptation framework, namely the establishment of the Adaptation Committee and further progress on the work programme on loss and damage. They welcome progress on the Green Development Fund, and, noting that African States account for most of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreements with the EU, commit to maximize the synergies between FLEGT and strategies for REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation  in developing countries, as well as conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks).

On biodiversity, they recognize that biodiversity loss is one of the major challenges of the 21st century for both the African continent and the EU, and agree to strengthen cooperation to ensure that healthy ecosystems and biodiversity continue to provide essential goods and services. They also commit to continue joint efforts in the fields of agriculture, food safety and food security and acknowledge their potential for promoting economic growth and sustainable development. They support: establishing international guidelines on access to land and other natural resources; continuing and scaling up EU support to African Farmers Organizations; and building on the process to establish an African organic farming platform. [Joint Declaration] [AU Website of the Meeting]