The 18th session of the Conference of African Ministers of the Environment (CAME) was held in Dakar (Senegal) from 12 to 16 September in a context marked by the consequences of a triple crisis: climate; loss of Biodiversity; socio-economic due to the COVID-19, which calls to review and question the framework of implementation of the decisions of the CAME.
In this regard, it was deemed necessary by the AMCEN presidency to strengthen the mechanisms and instruments for the implementation of the decisions of the African Ministers of the Environment by inviting UCLG Africa to join the work of this session, in its capacity as representative of the local and regional governments of Africa, with a view to strengthening the platform of actors who will ensure the articulation of the decisions at the field level
The participation of UCLG Africa was indeed of great importance as it fully contributes to institutionalize the governance of natural heritage of the African Union.
Took part in this important ministerial meeting:
- Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLGA Africa
- Mohamed Nbou, Director of the Climate, Biodiversity and Food System Department of UCLGA Africa
- Soumia Benlebsir, Policy Officer at the Department of Climate, Biodiversity and Food Systems at UCLG Africa.
The work of the conference was organized in two parts:
- A technical segment, from 12 to 15 September, made up of senior officials and experts, whose mission was to prepare with stakeholders a draft declaration and decisions on the four themes mentioned above
- A Ministerial segment, on September 16th, whose mission was to decide on the draft declaration and decisions prepared by the technical segment.
This session was attended by eminent personalities, among others: The Special Envoy of the President of the United States for Climate, Mr. John Kerry; The President and CEO of the Global Adaptation Centre, Mr. Patrick Verkooijen, The European Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Virginijus Sinkevičius, the Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations.
The participants focused their discussions on the need for a recovery oriented on the well-being of people through environmentally friendly measures, which create jobs and improve livelihoods
Within this framework, four technical groups were formed to discuss the following four important areas
- The strengthening the role of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN)
- The Biodiversity
- The waste and chemical and plastic pollution
- The Climate change
In view of the political and technical stakes that encompass the deliverables of each axis, the four themes have experienced difficult negotiations and lively debates at the end of which the proposals of the texts that were made by the delegation of UCLG Africa have been integrated and adopted and consequently the objectives outlined for this conference have been expected, namely the recognition of its efforts as an essential platform for the implementation of the decisions of the AMCEN
Bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Conference:
Bilateral Meeting with John Kerry
During the bilateral meeting with the US Special Envoy for Climate Change, it was noted with great satisfaction that he was willing to examine the possibility of supporting African cities and territories in their efforts to meet the challenges related to the consequences of climate change and ensure a fair and equitable energy transition.
To this end, the following areas have been noted and will be examined for support by the American side:
- Involvement in climate adaptation actions, particularly through the support of the Adaptation Initiative (IAA) and its Technical Support Unit;
- Establishment of the African Resilient Cities Network with an African Local “Governments First Rescue Facility” to enable them to cope with climate emergencies in case of disaster;
- Raising awareness for African sub-national and local governments to join the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAP) and the Global Methane Pledge, and building their capacity to develop and implement projects in these areas;
- Partnership with UCLG Africa for the organization, at COP27 in Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt, of a Cities and Territories Forum on Accelerating Climate Action and Resilience;
- Signing of a Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) between UCLG Africa and the relevant US institution or entity to provide the organization with institutional and other support to enable it to implement its 2021-2030 strategy.
Bilateral Meeting with the Minister of Environment of Senegal
During the meeting with the Minister of Environment, the UCLG Africa Delegation congratulated the Minister for the success of the conference while showing its availability to play an important role in the operationalization of the decisions and provisions of the declaration. The Minister, who is also a local elected official, was pleased with the results of the work of this conference, which allowed the recognition of the role of local authorities in accelerating the decisions of the AMCEN.
Bilateral meeting with Mr. Gaëtan Ducroux, International Environmental Cooperation Officer – Africa/South Asia.
The meeting focused on two main points: the Covenant of Mayors for Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA); the creation of a chapter on the resilience of cities in connection with the initiative of the “Round Table of Mayors for Water Security” led by the OECD and UCLG Africa.
These two points were of particular interest to the Representative of the European Commission in view of the role that UCLG Africa can play to ensure the operational anchoring of the two projects.
Bilateral meeting with Mr. Desta Mebratu, United Nations High Level Champion (UNHLC) Expert on climate change. Lead, Waste Extraodinary Prof, Center for Sustainability Transition Steplenbosch University, South Africa
The meeting focused primarily on exploring a partnership between UCLG Africa and Desta Mebratu, United Nations High Level Champion (UNHLC) for the implementation of the “Multi-stakeholder Partnership for the Elimination of Open Burning” initiative. Indeed, the issue of waste management in general and open burning of waste in particular is a very serious challenge that all African cities are facing. This partnership is in line with the decisions taken by AMCEN through the adoption of the resolution on the elimination of open burning of waste, and the consolidation of the pioneering role of local governments in the theme of waste.
In conclusion, this conference was an important milestone in the crowning of a process of inclusion of local governments in the decision-making process of the African Union. Indeed, the declaration and the decisions taken by the African ministers allowed to:
- Recognize the important role of local governments in accelerating the implementation of the co-decision and invites UCLG Africa to be part of the platform for the operationalization of the decisions
- Recall the essential role of local governments in waste management, in this context all initiatives related to this theme must be led by local governments
- Recognize that adaptation to climate change is a largely territorial issue and UCLG Africa has been called to be part of the strategic committee of the African initiation IAA.
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