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									        AFRICAN UNION                           UNION AFRICAINE       Formatted: Centered
                                                                      Formatted: Centered

                                                                      Formatted: Centered
                                                UNIÃO AFRICANA



             H.E. Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace,
        Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture
                  African Union Commission

on the occasion of the 13th Session of the African Ministerial
           Conference on Environment (AMCEN)

                        Bamako, Mali
                        23 June, 2010

H.E. The President of the Republic of Mali. Mr. Amadou Toure

H.E. The President of AMCEN

H.E. Prof. Thiemoko Sangare, Minister of Environment and Sanitation, of
the Republic of Mali

H.E. The Minister of Environment of Mexico

The President of the Pan African Parliament

Excellencies, Ministers

Distinguished Delegates

Dr. Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP

Dr. Peter Acquah, Secretary of AMCEN

Representatives of International and Pan-African Organisations

Members of the Diplomatic Corps, present here

Members of the Media

Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

I would like to, first of all, express my sincere appreciation to the people and
government of the Republic of Mali for hosting the 13 th Session of the AMCEN
in this beautiful city of Bamako. We have enjoyed your warm welcome and

I must also congratulate the Bureau of AMCEN for having chosen such a
befitting and topical theme for the 13 th Edition of AMCEN: “Enhancing the
interrelationship between climate change, biodiversity and desertification for
sustainable development’. My thanks are also go to the AMCEN Secretariat, in
particular to Dr. Peter Acquah, for the efforts invested in preparing for this

Conference. I wish to also commend our partnership with UNEP under the able
stewardship of Dr. Achim Steiner.

Chair, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Africa is, needless to mention, facing the brunt of challenges that are getting
more complex arising from environmental degradation and deterioration.
Urgent action is imperative on the part of Africa’s political leaders working
with our best technocrats and strategic partners both local and international.

This is all the more urgent because environment is the basis of our livelihoods,
and our development. Its endangering is, therefore, to our detriment.            The
pollution of the air, for example, affects our health systems, which in turn
makes it very difficult to improve economic productivity and growth. Water
bodies are getting contaminated by poisonous substances, thus affecting
biodiversity and undermining prospects for socio-economic advancement.

For example, water is becoming increasingly scarce in arid and semi-arid
ecosystems while incidences of flooding will increase in lowlands and coastal

As part of the trend to reverse the state of affairs, we will need to shift our
technologies towards the green economy where green energy becomes the key
driving force. Our prime concern to pursue poverty eradication should propel
our collective actions and we, therefore, need to ensure that Africa secures the
requisite resources to attain poverty eradication. The potential and real impacts
of climate change and climate variability have always been devastating. There
are issues of migrations, diseases, poverty, peace and security, food insecurity,
just to mention a few that are tangentially and directly linked with climate
change with considerable overarching effect on human development. Designing
new tools and initiatives that will respond to these challenges is the way to go.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Africa treats the climate change challenge as a developmental emergency. This
is because our livelihoods and future are at stake. If climate change is not
addressed squarely, the environment will deteriorate to a point where
development will be irreversibly undermined and likewise our crusade against
poverty. On the other hand, failing to tackle poverty would result in more
intense pressure on resources that the poor majority primarily depend on. We
need to intensify our collective efforts to ensure sustainable development.

These challenges are multiplying at an alarming rate.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen,

As we prepare for the next round of global climate change negotiations in
Cancun, Africa needs to contextualise negotiations into the development
agenda. For example, six months after Copenhagen, agriculture is still not very
visible in the negotiation process. There is currently a lot of attention with
considerable commensurate resources devoted to the carbon issue – reduction of
emissions and sequestration policies but this is NOT from a poverty-eradication
or development-oriented perspective. There is need to strike a balance between
development and climate change. It is in light of this that discussion is
underway on the nexus between agriculture and climate change. The AUC in
partnership with the NEPAD Agency in collaboration with the EU countries are
currently engaged in discussions to ensure that the issue of agriculture is taken
forward in the climate change negotiations..

Africa cannot put its development on hold in a bid to reduce emissions, which
are considerably in absolute or global terms. Yet, the desire to pursue a low-
carbon growth path and readily adapting to the growing risks of climate change
is clearly a priority issue in the development aspirations of many African
countries. However, Africa needs not to compromise its economic growth due
to mitigation efforts. So, we need to push for access to affordable technology
for a green economy.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I conclude, I need to share with you some of the efforts that the AU
Commission, through the Department I head - the Department of Rural
Economy and Agriculture – has been making to serve AU Member States for
them to achieve desired developmental goals. The efforts of the AU
Commission      are premised on four strategic pillars, namely achievement of
peace and security, promotion of shared values, development, cooperation and
partnership and strengthening institutional capacity, with which to organise
efforts and measure progress; and shared values.

The Commission has continued to work with AMCEN, the negotiators and
others to support the Heads of State and Government in articulating and
promoting a common position on climate change as a united front. True to their
conviction, our Heads of State and Government in subsequent sessions of the
Assembly adopted a number of historic decisions strengthening and reinforcing
Africa’s negotiating position, structure and capacity.

In taking forward decisions of Heads of State and Government, the Ministers of
CAHOSCC who met this morning after having deliberated on how best to
organise the coordinating structure of CAHOSCC at Ministers and Experts
levels have come up with a set of recommendations which will be considered by

the Heads of State and Government during the July Summit in Kampala,

We remain committed to forging and managing strategic partnerships in support
of the efforts of our Member States in some crucial areas. The AUC, UNECA
and AfDB Joint Secretariat serve as an invaluable platform to champion
continental initiatives. The Clim-DEV Africa Programme is one good example
in this respect. We continue to work in concert with Regional Economic
Communities to support Member States’ efforts in taking the agricultural and
environmental agenda forward. The African Monitoring of the Environment for
Sustainable Development (AMESD) that the AUC is hosting and coordinating
on behalf of RECs is providing the necessary infrastructural resources to
harness information for development. Our partnership and collaboration with
UNEP on enhancing the capacities of AU Member States in Multilateral
Environmental Agreements (MEAs) is another on-going vital project. Still in
partnership with UNISDR and WFP we are developing the Disaster Risk
Reduction agenda – as you may recall, the 2nd Conference of Ministers
Responsible for DRR that was held on 14-16 April 2010 adopted key
resolutions which will be submitted for consideration and adoption by the
relevant AU policy organs. The Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel
Initiative is another area that we are mobilising partnership with FAO and EU to
complement efforts by Member States and RECs.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Dear Participants:

Let me stress once more the link between climate change and development. I
am sure you will agree with me that as far as Africa is concerned, climate
change concerns are inter-twined with rural development and poverty reduction

We are informed of a recent move by the UN SG to set up a High Level Panel
on Global Sustainability. This is a new initiative intended to ensure the
interconnectivity between the critical areas of food security, climate change,
access to water and energy among others. The fact that Africa will be
represented on this panel makes it a viable avenue for advancing our common
interests. Emphasis on agriculture, poverty and the green economy and how to
support these new interests will be made.


Perhaps let me also mention one of the items for your consideration, which is
the status of AMCEN as part of the Specialised Technical Committee of the
AU. It is to be recalled that the February 2009 AU Summit Decision
established 14 STCs as organs of the AU of which one is the STC on
Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment. The issue of how to
institutionalise the various Ministerial Conferences including AMCEN within
this STC has been the subject of internal consultation at the AUC. It is my belief
that your deliberation in this regard will enrich this process.

Let me now wish you very productive deliberations, and I look forward to an
outcome that will add more value to our common position on climate change
and our on-going programmes and projects on environment and sustainable

I Thank You


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