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Sunday, 6 December 2015

African Ministers seek remedy to acute climate risks

Ministers of different African countries on Sunday rose from a meeting in Paris, with a strong warning of the acute climate risks facing the continent. The Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, led the Nigerian delegation to the crucial discussion to harmonise divergent views and give the continent a common voice in the ongoing negotiation at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, COP 21.
Addressing the Ministers and key stakeholders, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, said Africa has enormous stake in the conference success, noting that the world cannot afford complacency between now and 2020.
“Climate Change may be just one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, but without addressing it properly, all remaining 16 goals cannot be fully implemented. It is critically important that we have a vision implemented in Paris”, he stressed.
Key officials of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) led by its President, Dr Khaled Fahmy, the Egyptian Minister of Environment, explained the precarious state of African continent buffeted by climate extremes like drought, flooding, landslides, water scarcity and diseases.
They warned that rising sea levels would threaten Africa large coastal population, bringing enormous pressure on Agriculture, tourism, health, energy, fisheries, among other sectors.
The Ministers admitted that although Africa produces the least carbon emission when compared with other continents, negative climate impact could put modest progress in the region into reverse.
The President, African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, had in his earlier statement, warned that Africa was the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, when compared with other continents of the world.
“With so many Africans living close to the poverty line, climate change could roll back much of our hard-won progress”, he said.
He said the shared commitment to a low carbon future that will emerge from the Conference of Parties (COP 21), presents huge opportunity for Africa.
” The move towards a greener and more sustainable development pathway can be a spring ball for economic transformation. Africa has vast potential in clean energy. With the right vision and investments, it can be help lead a global energy revolution, leapfrogging to renewable technologies and improving lives through cleaner, safer energy for household use”, he further explained.
Adesina said the African Development Bank will lead a major push to deliver cleaner, more affordable energy for all Africans by 2025.
“We will integrate climate- smart development across our portfolio. And we will continue to use our expertise to leverage climate finance for Africa and help African countries speak with a common voice in the international policy arena”, he pledged.

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