23 Nov 2011

African Ministerial Conference on the Environment Fourth Special Session

By Venancia.Ndoo
The AMCEN meeting was held form 9th – 16th September, 2011 at Bamako, Mali. The main objective of the meeting was to lobby delegates of AMCEN and create awareness on Biofuels production and its impacts currently and also getting views of delegates on the issue and advocating for other Climate related asks of BirdLife International. BirdLife was represented by Alade Adeleke and Jane Gaithuma. The conference started off with a pre-AMCEN meeting supported by AMCEN, OXFAM, DIAKONIA, and MDG CAMPAIGNS which was convened by Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) with a view to making recommendations to AMCEN on issues that would be discussed in relation to climate change negotiations and expectations for Durban, green economy and IEG. BirdLife raised the issues of Biofuels and land grabbing in Africa and gave the case of Dakatcha woodlands and Tana Delta in Kenya. BirdLife also contributed to the final messages from CSOs (PACJA) and also participated in a meeting on major stakeholders in relation to IEG and green economy. At the experts meeting, the objective of the AMCEN special session was to provide a platform for African ministers of environment to update and consolidate Africa’s common negotiating position on a comprehensive international climate change regime beyond 2012. The Parties were to deliberate on a common approach to engaging with the international community in developing solutions to tackle the challenges posed by climate change and the modalities for submitting the outcomes of the special session at UNFCCC COP 17 and the seventh Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The meeting was also reviewing Africa’s preparations for effective participation in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (also known as “Rio + 20”), including with regard to the themes of green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and the institutional framework for sustainable development. Options for strengthening the environmental pillar of sustainable development and achieving effective international environmental governance were also discussed. The outputs were expected to be a common African negotiating position on a comprehensive international climate change regime beyond 2012 and a comprehensive draft strategy for Africa to combat climate change with a view to achieving sustainable development on the continent. The meeting was divided into 2 sessions- Experts session and ministerial session. Expert’s session was well attended by representatives of major multilateral and bilateral environment and development institutions in Africa. BirdLife had meetings with several parties to raise awareness on the issue of biofuels and lobby for its mention by the parties. These meetings also sought to find out current situations in the various countries (Ethiopia, South Africa, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Namibia and Zimbabwe) on biofuels and bio energy generally. BirdLife also used this opportunity to distribute biofuels briefs, BirdLife ASKs and other related documents to the expert group meeting which were very well received. For more detailed report on the AMCEN meeting contact Jane Gaithuma Regional Policy and advocacy Manager, Africa Jane.Gaithuma@birdlife.org