Monday, November 21, 2011

News Round Up: Afirca

European Commission Provides support for Ivorian Refugees and Asylum seekers in Ghana and Togo
 ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, November 21, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The European Commission (EC) has allocated another EUR 980,000 to assist Ivorian Refugees and Asylum-Seekers affected by the Ivorian crisis in Ghana and Togo. This funding is channeled through the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) EUR 800,000 and through OXFAM EUR 180,000.
The multi-sectoral response includes providing shelter, education, health, WASH and skills training activities to the refugees located in Ghana and in Togo. The action which began in October 2011 is expected to end in March 2012.


Background:
Reports by the UNHCR have indicated that the continuation of the current situation in Cote d’Ivoire and an escalation of hostilities would prevent refugees and asylum-seekers from returning in 2011. Also, discrimination based on refugee diversity can prevent many refugees (especially those originating from specific neighbourhoods of Abidjan) from returning to their homes.
Many refugees’ homes in Cote d’Ivoire have been destroyed while fear and trauma will prevent many refugees from returning even if hostilities cease and a safe, productive socio-economic environment is restored. The fund is to assist the refugees and asylum-seekers affected by the risks indicated. SOURCE: Delegation of the European Union to Ghana

Malabo to host third Africa –South America (ASA) senior officials meeting
MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, November 21, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Preparations ahead of the third Africa-South America senior officials meeting is on high gear in Malabo, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, where high officials from the 54 African Union Member States and the Member countries from South America will from 22 to 25 November 2011, converge to discuss ways of strengthening cooperation ties.
The meeting at the Sipopo Conference Center in Malabo will hold in two phases: the Senior Official Meeting will hold from 22 – 23 November 2011, while the Ministerial Meeting will hold from 24 – 25 November 2011.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Jean Ping and his close collaborators will be present at the Africa-South America High Officials Meeting.
Discussions at the meeting will include: the Africa – South America Implementation Plan 2010 – 2015 ; the ASA Institutions (Strategic Presidential Committee; ASA Permanent Secretariat and Coordination Mechanism) ; the ASA Calendar of Events based mainly on what is practically possible in the Implementation Plan – as per the identified short-term projects; and the setting up of an ASA Financial Mechanism focused on the consideration of the African proposal for the setting up of the ASA Trust Fund.
Worth recalling that, the ASA Coordination Group is made up of the following:

(i)    Brazil – Coordinator for South America;
(ii)    Venezuela – Previous host;
(iii)    Ecuador – UNASUR Presidency Ex-Tempore;
(iv)    Nigeria – Coordinator for Africa;
(v)     Equatorial Guinea – Next host; and
(vi)    African Union Commission
Journalists are invited to cover the ASA meeting in Malabo.
For Further Information consult the AU website: www.au.int
SOURCE African Union Commission (AUC)


ICC / President of the Assembly of States Parties welcomes arrest of Saif Al- Islam Gaddafi
THE HAGUE, Netherland, November 21, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Speaking in New York, the President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, welcomed the arrest of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, against whom warrants of arrest were issued by the Court in connection with the Libya situation.
“By arresting Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi the Libyan authorities have taken a major step towards ensuring accountability and due process rights and towards fulfilling their obligations under international law”, said the President. He also commended Libyan authorities for their cooperation with the Court to date, rendered even in the face of difficult conditions on the ground.

The President further stressed that “I look forward to the continued cooperation of the Libyan authorities with the International Criminal Court, pursuant to their obligation under Security Council resolution 1970.” He added that, under the Rome Statute, Libya retained primary jurisdiction over all crimes committed on its territory. At the same time, since an ICC investigation had been opened, procedures contained in the Rome Statute needed to be followed. “It must be ensured that Saif Al-Islam is tried in a court of law and in accordance with international standards. Should the Libyan authorities wish to try him in Libya, they can make the case before the Court that their national judicial system is willing and able to do so in an independent and impartial manner”.
The President was also heartened by reports that the forces that had captured Mr. Gaddafi intended to treat him as a prisoner of war. He noted that international law generally and the Rome Statute specifically imposed an obligation to treat Mr. Gaddafi according to established international standards. SOURCE International Criminal Court (ICC)


AU Commission Initiative against Trafficking (AU.COMMIT) Campaign
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 21, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Advocate Bience Gawanas, Commissioner for Social Affairs of the African Union (AU) on 29 November will preside at the official opening ceremony of the Regional Consultative Workshop for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Member States on the operationalisation of the Ouagadougou Action Plan in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The two-day workshop, hosted by the Africa Union Commission, in collaboration with SADC, International Organization for Migration (IOM) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) will bring together participants from all SADC Member States, the Africa Union Commission, and international partners.
The consultative workshop will foster effective ways of networking, coordination and cooperation among Member States and partners to address trafficking in persons in Southern Africa in a more strategic and programmatic manner. It is aimed to sensitise SADC member states on the operationalisation of the Ouagadougou Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in human beings, especially women and children, and on the regional launching of the AU.COMMIT campaign, which endeavours to raise awareness of the AU’s continued commitment towards addressing the problem of trafficking in human beings throughout the continent. The AU.COMMIT campaign is aimed at galvanising activities undertaken by the AU Commission, including global, regional and national initiatives towards more synergised and coordinated actions to combat trafficking in persons in Africa.

The Workshop will further discuss the development of policy indicators, setting of benchmarks, follow-up and monitoring mechanisms, and identification and dissemination of best practices in support of the implementation of the Ouagadougou Action Plan and the AU.COMMIT Campaign.
Trafficking in persons is one of the fastest growing criminal activities in the world, which results in serious breaches of human rights. This phenomenon poses an increasingly serious challenge to humanity. In order to address it seriously, better cooperation among countries of origin, transit and destination is required for which regional and sub-regional mechanisms play a key role in providing a response that is both multilateral and sufficiently close to countries’ realities and specificities within a certain region.
It is expected that the workshop will formulate a clear way forward within SADC on the translation of the Ouagadougou Action Plan into measures and common standards for preventing trafficking, prosecuting traffickers and providing assistance to victims of trafficking.
Some guiding principles for a common vision that participants will take home are the importance of supporting ownership and implementation, collaboration at all levels and linking efforts together, making sure that all programs and initiatives are empirically-based, ensuring that programs have the technical support needed for interventions to meet an international standard, instilling a sense of urgency while moving initiatives forward at a pace that allows the project to show tangible results, the importance of quality and precision and a measurable impact.
Most importantly, this workshop serves as reminder that Africa must strive to always serve those in need – those who are vulnerable and/or those who have been trafficked.
Journalists are invited to cover the opening ceremony on Tuesday, 29 November 2011 (09:00 to 10:00) after which there will be a press briefing. The meeting will be convened at the Kopanong Hotel, Tel: +27 (11) 749-0000, Fax: +27 (11) 967-1389, 243 Glen Gory Road, Norton Estate, Benoni, South Africa, http://www.kopanong.co.za SOURCE African Union Commission (AUC)


East African Community / Common standards critical in regional integration, says Hon. Kiraso
ARUSHA, Tanzania, November 21, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political Federation, Hon. Beatrice Kiraso, has called for common standards as the regional political integration deepens and widens.
“The EAC Partner States must make concerted efforts to establish common standards and practices to move harmoniously in the EAC integration process and to achieve the set objectives,” Hon. Kiraso said when addressing the First EAC Political Dialogue in Kampala, Uganda.
She said that common standards would help all parties to move simultaneously as envisaged in the Treaty. Hon. Kiraso also pushed for an EAC peer review mechanism to help Partner States conform to the agreed political, economic and governance values, codes and standards.
“Such a mechanism will foster the adoption of common policies, standards and practices that lead to political stability, high economic growth, sustainable development and accelerated regional integration, including identifying deficiencies and assessing the needs for capacity building,” the Deputy Secretary General added.
On the Political Dialogue, the EAC official said that East Africans have a right to be part of the integration and that the policy makers have an obligation to involve the people of East Africa so that the decisions that are taken at regional level represent their interest and aspirations.
Addressing the same occasion, former Kenyan Minister for Trade and Industry and the lead panelist Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, said that civil society organizations and academia must forge unity of purpose in achieving the EAC regional integration objectives.
“We are under-performing in our noble duty to speed up the regional integration,” he remarked.
The Dialogue was convened to brainstorm, promote and advocate inclusiveness and participation of a wide range of East Africans and to enhance political will towards the EAC’s political integration.
Held on the theme: “Enhancing Representation/Inclusiveness in Promoting EAC Integration” this year, the forum is billed to become a regular activity in all Partner States and topics will be based on studies commissioned to research on various topical political integration issues.
Four more studies have recently been commissioned, after the first series of EAC occasional papers were launched in July in Arusha, Tanzania. These include: Participation of Political Parties in East Africa Integration Process; Representation in East African Integration Process and; A Comparative Study on the Structures and Functioning of Federations.
EAC will also hold a round-table discussion with a number of development partners interested in collaborating with the bloc in promoting political integration and good governance. Good governance has been identified as key in laying a firm foundation for political federation.
The two-day Dialogue was attended by representatives of private sector, academia, youth, media, religious organizations and politicians. It was held with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Office. SOURCE East African Community (EAC)


ICTR Judgment Against Former Rwandan Mayor of Kivumu
 WASHINGTON, November 18, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement
Mark C. Toner Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC November 18, 2011
Yesterday the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) convicted Gregoire Ndahimana, former Rwandan Mayor of Kivumu, for genocide and crimes against humanity. The court sentenced Ndahimana to 15 years.
The United States welcomes this ruling as an important step in providing justice and accountability for the Rwandan people and the international community. The conviction of Mr. Ndahimana is of particular significance, because as mayor of Kivumu he had authority over the police, and yet failed to prevent the massacre of more than 1,500 people who sought refuge and protection in Nyange Church. Militia, police, civil and religious authorities participated in bulldozing the church, burying the refugees sheltered inside.
There are still nine ICTR fugitives at-large and the United States urges all countries to redouble their cooperation with the ICTR so that these fugitives can be expeditiously arrested and brought to justice. SOURCE US Department of State


African Union Signs MoU with International Red Cross/Red Crescent
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 18, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The African Union Commission has signed a cooperation agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
A Memorandum of Under-standing to that effect was signed on Thursday, 17 November 2011 at AUC Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by Dr. Jean Ping, Chairperson of the Commission and Mr. Stephen G.R. Omollo, Head of Humanitarian Diplomacy and Representative to the African Union and International Organisations for the Geneva-based International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Chairperson Ping lauded the excellent relations that exist between the AUC and IFRC and underscored the credibility and outstanding reputation of the IFRC, acquired in over 150 years of experience in humanitarian work, especially in conflict zones.
On his part, Mr. Omollo explained that the agreement offers a platform for enhanced engagement between both parties, adding that this is good for Africa, since the Red Cross/Red Crescent usually has access to places such as Somalia, where most other humanitarian organisations cannot reach.
Both parties agreed to concentrate their joint efforts in the area of predictable emergencies and disasters, for, as the Chairperson put it, “prevention is always better than cure.”
The agreement formalizes cooperation ties between both organisations in humanitarian assistance throughout the continent and provides for, among other things, the exchange of information and documents, consultations on programmes, collaboration in the development of joint information tools and advocacy campaigns, support for capacity building, promotion of partnerships between AU Member States and the IFRC and the design and implementation of joint evaluation mechanisms.
Present at the ceremony were the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Chairperson and his Deputy. SOURCE African Union Commission (AUC)


Aviation: Commission updates the EU list of air carriers subject to an operating ban
BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, November 21, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The European Commission has adopted today the eighteenth update of the list of airlines banned in the European Union. Close and intense cooperation with the aviation authorities of two countries – Albania and the Russian Federation – has led both countries to adopt strong measures in order to control and contain any risks to safety of their air carriers flying into the EU. Therefore, no measures were necessary by the Commission vis–à-vis air carriers licensed in Albania or in the Russian Federation. Thanks to further improvements in the safety performance of TAAG Angolan Airlines the air carrier is allowed to add two aircraft to those operating into the EU. The Commission was compelled to impose operating restrictions to exclude part of the fleet of Jordan Aviation in view of numerous and repeated safety deficiencies and to ban fully all operations of the air carrier Rollins Air certified in Honduras.
Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: “The Commission is ready to spare no effort to assist its neighbours in building their technical and administrative capacity to overcome any difficulties in the area of safety as quickly and as efficiently as possible. In the meantime, safety comes first. We cannot afford any compromise in this area. Where we have evidence inside or outside the European Union that air carriers are not performing safe operations we must act to exclude any risks to safety.”
The Commission has adopted today, following the unanimous opinion of the Air Safety Committee, the eighteenth update of the list of airlines banned in the EU. The new list replaces the previous one established in April 2011 and can already be consulted on the Commission’s website 1 .
The Air Safety Committee, which met from 8 to 10 November, also examined various cases of European air carriers. The Commission is urging the authorities in several Member States to further enhance their oversight of these air carriers to ensure that all airlines established in Europe operate at the highest safety levels.
With this update , the TAAG Angolan Airlines is allowed to operate into the EU two modern aircraft of type B-777-300 shown to be managed safely by the air carrier which oversees their operations appropriately .
The Commission and the Air Safety Committee were very concerned with the performance of Albanian air carriers and their authorities. Following the formal commitment of Albanian authorities to employ full time qualified personnel to ensure the continuous surveillance of air carriers under their regulatory authority and coupled with very strong enforcement measures – revocation of the air operator’s certificate of Albanian Airlines and the removal of one aircraft from the fleet of Belle Air – the Air Safety Committee supported unanimously the Commission’s proposal to refrain from any measures. Member States and in particular Italy have accepted to further enhance their ongoing cooperation with Albania by providing technical assistance focusing on improving oversight.
In order to ensure that there were no risks for safety from the operations of certain air carriers, the Commission with the unanimous support of the Air Safety Committee has decided to impose operating restrictions on Jordan Aviation and to exclude three aircraft of type Boeing 767 from its fleet operating into the EU. The Commission is ready to support the efforts of the authorities of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the air carrier to improve safety in a sustainable manner also through an assessment visit.
Following information received from France regarding the safety of the air carrier Rollins Air certified in Honduras and the unanimous support in the Air Safety Committee, the Commission decided to impose an operating ban on all operations of Rollins Air pending the resolution of the various significant safety issues that were first raised by France.
Furthermore, the list now includes air carriers which have been certified by the aviation authorities of the Republic of Congo ( Equatorial Congo ), of the Democratic Republic of Congo ( Stellar Airways ) and of the Philippines ( Aeromajestic and Interisland Airlines ) not having received the necessary documented evidence that these carriers comply with international safety standards.
The Commission has examined three air carriers certified in the Russian Federation – VIM AVIA, Yakutia and Tatarstan Airlines . The Russian aviation authorities have presented to the Commission and the Air Safety Committee the enforcement measures on these air carriers and in particular the imposed operating restrictions on all operations of VIM AVIA into the EU until 1 April 2012. The operations of Yakutia and Tatarstan into the EU were also restricted. The Russian aviation authorities have reassured the Commission and the Air Safety Committee that they would guarantee the effective implementation of their decisions. On this basis and on the understanding of a continuous and close monitoring of all operations of Russian air carriers into the EU, the Commission has decided to refrain from imposing an operating ban on VIM AVIA and to examine again this case in the next Air Safety Committee.
The Commission and the Air Safety Committee have recognised the efforts of all the national authorities concerned to reform the present civil aviation system and improve safety to guarantee that international safety standards are effectively applied. The Commission is ready to provide active support to these reforms in cooperation with ICAO, EU Member States and the European Aviation Safety Agency.
To this effect, the Commission has mandated the European Aviation Safety Agency to carry out a series of technical assistance missions to support the competent authorities of a number of states in their efforts to enhance safety.
The updated European list includes all carriers certified in 21 States, accounting for 273 known air carriers, whose operations are fully banned in the European Union: Afghanistan, Angola, Benin, Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon (with the exception of three carriers which operate under restrictions and conditions), Indonesia (with the exception of six carriers), Kazakhstan (with the exception of one carrier which operates under restrictions and conditions), the Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Mauritania, Mozambique, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan, Swaziland and Zambia.
The list continues to include four individual carriers: Blue Wing Airlines from Surinam, Meridian Airways from Ghana, Rollins Air from Honduras and Silverback Cargo Freighters from Rwanda.
Additionally, the list includes 11 air carriers which are allowed to operate into the EU under strict restrictions and subject to conditions: Air Astana from Kazakhstan as mentioned before, Air Koryo from the Democratic People Republic of Korea, Airlift International from Ghana, Air Service Comores, Afrijet, Gabon Airlines and SN2AG from Gabon, Iran Air, TAAG Angolan Airlines, Air Madagascar certified in Madagascar and Jordan Aviation certified in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. SOURCE European Commission


African Union Commission Chairperson receives credentials of the Permanent Observer of Ecuador to the AU
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 18, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Jean Ping, received in his office at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa on Thursday, 17 November 2011, the credentials of H.E. Mr. José Valencia, as the first Permanent Observer of the Republic of Ecuador to the African Union.
Welcoming the new Permanent Observer, Dr. Ping said: “This is an example of the kind of cooperation we would like to have with each and every South American country.”
He expressed regret at the limited cooperation ties that exist between Africa and most South American countries, especially in the economic domain, despite both regions’ common historical experience of European colonialism and sharing the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Chairperson commended Ecuador for opening formal diplomatic ties with the African Union and assured the Ambassador of the availability of the entire Commission and its leadership to assist him in his efforts to help strengthen relations between both continents.
On his part, Ambassador Valencia said he was honoured to serve as Ecuador’s first Permanent Observer to the AU and transmitted to the Chairperson the warm greetings of the President of Ecuador, H.E. Mr Rafael Correa, whose commitment to South-South cooperation, especially relations with Africa, is strong, he added.
The Ambassador agreed with the Chairperson that Africa and South American share some common challenges which can best be met collaboratively. For that purpose, Ecuador last year opened embassies in Egypt and South Africa and will soon open two more in Ghana and Kenya, he announced.
The new Permanent Observer further stated that as part of the African Diaspora and with the establishment of formal ties, Ecuador will increasingly be present in the African Union, which he described as: “an organization that very much represents the spirit of Africa.”
The Chairperson, who was accompanied by his Deputy Chief of Staff and Political/Diplomatic Advisor, also exchanged views with the Ecuadorian diplomat, on other issues of common interest. SOURCE African Union Commission (AUC)


The African Pavilion at COP17/CMP7

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 17, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Invitation to representatives of the media
What: The United Nations Climate Change Conference that will bring together representatives of the world’s governments, international organisations and civil society.

The conference is also commonly referred to technically as the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Meeting of the Parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol.

WHEN: 28 November – 9 December 2011

WHERE: Durban, Republic of South Africa

WHO: Republic of South Africa, African Union Commission (AUC), African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA).

THEMES:
The roundtable discussions of COP17 and CMP7 in Durban will cover the following thematic areas:

-    Climate finance for Arica
-    Low carbon development and energy access for Africa
-    Hydro metrological services and water resources for Africa
-    Climate change and disaster risk management
-    Adaptation to Climate Change and investments in climate resilient development
-    Agriculture and food security across Africa
-    Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation across Africa


OBJECTIVES: The main objectives of COP17/CMP7 are:
•    Discourse that sets the context for Africa-relevant climate change issues and themes in the larger framework of sustainable development in Africa
•    Articulation by African policy makers, practitioners, researchers and community representatives of the gaps and demands for appropriate knowledge, policy directions and actions, and technical services including those for the wider public
•    Knowledge-sharing among decision-makers, practitioners, the research community and negotiators on goals
•    Identifying policies, practices and research recommendations for stakeholders; and, promoting quality scientific research, field experience and evidence-based policy more extensively

Expected Outputs and Outcomes of COP17/CMP7
The outputs of the conference will include:
•    a series of African events that bring together policy, practice and research communities to discuss, debate and progress the African climate change and development agenda;
•    social and networking opportunities around climate change and development in Africa
•    African multimedia products that highlight the African climate change and development agenda
•    worldwide media exposure for Africa at COP17/CMP7
•    physical and virtual networking spaces
•    a helpdesk to provide information on COP17/CMP7 and beyond
•    a development marketplace for innovative ideas and proposals on climate change and development across Africa

The expected outcomes of the conference are:

•    a recognition that climate change can be addressed in Africa only through development
•    an understanding that Africa owns the African agenda on climate change and development
•    a greater awareness of what countries, institutions, organisations and individuals are doing to address climate change and development across Africa

Participants will include the following:

•    High level personalities
•    The Regional Economic Communities
•    Development partners;
•    Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
•    International development organizations;
•    Climate change experts
•    Non-governmental organisations


Partners

Partners will include the African Development Bank, the World Food Program, the World Bank, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

Background:

The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol, will be held in Durban, South Africa from 28 November to 9 December 2011.

Of particular relevance to Africa is the African Union Assembly Decision (Assembly/ Dec. 342(xvi) taken at the Sixteenth Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework. Convention on Climate Change and the 6th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

By that decision, African leaders called upon the African Union Commission to liaise with the Republic of South Africa and the African Development Bank to set up an African Pavilion at COP 17. The partners were also mandated to make adequate preparation to support the African Group of Negotiators in the preparatory Climate Change talks leading to COP 17; and to convene an African Conference of Ministers responsible for Climate Change to finalise the document as part of the preparation for COP 17.

The conference constitutes a milestone for climate change negotiations. It has now been nearly 20 years since the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development—also known as the Earth Summit—in Rio de Janeiro. At that summit, among others, climate change negotiations were kick-started. As a result, the UNFCCC was opened for signing by UN member states.

COP17/CMP7 has symbolic significance for climate negotiations because it is being held on a continent that is widely acknowledged to be bearing the brunt of climate change. There is much hope and optimism that the negotiations will move forward significantly on some of the important elements of the multilateral climate framework. They are expected to build on COP16-CMP6 agreements in Cancun, Mexico in 2010.

The negotiations return to Africa at a time when there is a higher level of awareness of the impact of climate change on Africa, supported by a growing body of research and adaptation and mitigation practices on the ground. Furthermore, the conference offers an opportunity to showcase some of the important initiatives and activities in Africa regarding climate change and development by a wide range of actors, and to ensure that development and climate change are at the forefront of discussions and negotiations.

Meeting on 29 June 2011 on the sidelines of the African Union Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the Committee of Heads of State and Government on Climate Change stressed the importance of adaptation as a priority agenda for Africa. It underscored the need for a mechanism for concrete implementation of adaptation actions and the associated financial and technological support. African Heads of State and Government also called for the creation of an Africa Green Fund to provide Africa with access to climate finance at a scale that can accomplish transformational impact using mechanisms that best respond to Africa’s needs.

The Africa Green Fund will pool funds from various sources to support country-owned-and country-led initiatives and climate compatible development. It will help finance public and private sector programmes and projects that will contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable development on the continent. The Africa Pavilion will offer an opportunity to reflect on the design of the Green Climate Fund in a manner that results in a tailored financing platform for Africa at the scale needed for a climate resilient and low carbon development future. It will do this through practical programmatic approaches, with incentives for the private sector to leverage investments.

The African Pavilion at COP17/CMP7
INVITATION TO REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MEDIA
What: The United Nations Climate Change Conference that will bring together representatives of the world’s governments, international organisations and civil society.
The conference is also commonly referred to technically as the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Meeting of the Parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol.
WHEN: 28 November – 9 December 2011
WHERE: Durban, Republic of South Africa
WHO: Republic of South Africa, African Union Commission (AUC), African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA).
THEMES:
The roundtable discussions of COP17 and CMP7 in Durban will cover the following thematic areas:

-    Climate finance for Arica
-    Low carbon development and energy access for Africa
-    Hydro metrological services and water resources for Africa
-    Climate change and disaster risk management
-    Adaptation to Climate Change and investments in climate resilient development
-    Agriculture and food security across Africa
-    Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation across Africa

OBJECTIVES: The main objectives of COP17/CMP7 are:
•    Discourse that sets the context for Africa-relevant climate change issues and themes in the larger framework of sustainable development in Africa
•    Articulation by African policy makers, practitioners, researchers and community representatives of the gaps and demands for appropriate knowledge, policy directions and actions, and technical services including those for the wider public
•    Knowledge-sharing among decision-makers, practitioners, the research community and negotiators on goals
•    Identifying policies, practices and research recommendations for stakeholders; and, promoting quality scientific research, field experience and evidence-based policy more extensively

Expected Outputs and Outcomes of COP17/CMP7
The outputs of the conference will include:
•    a series of African events that bring together policy, practice and research communities to discuss, debate and progress the African climate change and development agenda;
•    social and networking opportunities around climate change and development in Africa
•    African multimedia products that highlight the African climate change and development agenda
•    worldwide media exposure for Africa at COP17/CMP7
•    physical and virtual networking spaces
•    a helpdesk to provide information on COP17/CMP7 and beyond
•    a development marketplace for innovative ideas and proposals on climate change and development across Africa

The expected outcomes of the conference are: 
•    a recognition that climate change can be addressed in Africa only through development
•    an understanding that Africa owns the African agenda on climate change and development
•    a greater awareness of what countries, institutions, organisations and individuals are doing to address climate change and development across Africa

Participants will include the following:
•    High level personalities
•    The Regional Economic Communities
•    Development partners;
•    Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
•    International development organizations;
•    Climate change experts
•    Non-governmental organisations

 Partners
Partners will include the African Development Bank, the World Food Program, the World Bank, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

Background:
The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol, will be held in Durban, South Africa from 28 November to 9 December 2011.
Of particular relevance to Africa is the African Union Assembly Decision (Assembly/ Dec. 342(xvi) taken at the Sixteenth Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework. Convention on Climate Change and the 6th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.
By that decision, African leaders called upon the African Union Commission to liaise with the Republic of South Africa and the African Development Bank to set up an African Pavilion at COP 17. The partners were also mandated to make adequate preparation to support the African Group of Negotiators in the preparatory Climate Change talks leading to COP 17; and to convene an African Conference of Ministers responsible for Climate Change to finalise the document as part of the preparation for COP 17.
The conference constitutes a milestone for climate change negotiations. It has now been nearly 20 years since the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development—also known as the Earth Summit—in Rio de Janeiro. At that summit, among others, climate change negotiations were kick-started. As a result, the UNFCCC was opened for signing by UN member states.
COP17/CMP7 has symbolic significance for climate negotiations because it is being held on a continent that is widely acknowledged to be bearing the brunt of climate change. There is much hope and optimism that the negotiations will move forward significantly on some of the important elements of the multilateral climate framework. They are expected to build on COP16-CMP6 agreements in Cancun, Mexico in 2010.
The negotiations return to Africa at a time when there is a higher level of awareness of the impact of climate change on Africa, supported by a growing body of research and adaptation and mitigation practices on the ground. Furthermore, the conference offers an opportunity to showcase some of the important initiatives and activities in Africa regarding climate change and development by a wide range of actors, and to ensure that development and climate change are at the forefront of discussions and negotiations.
Meeting on 29 June 2011 on the sidelines of the African Union Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the Committee of Heads of State and Government on Climate Change stressed the importance of adaptation as a priority agenda for Africa. It underscored the need for a mechanism for concrete implementation of adaptation actions and the associated financial and technological support. African Heads of State and Government also called for the creation of an Africa Green Fund to provide Africa with access to climate finance at a scale that can accomplish transformational impact using mechanisms that best respond to Africa’s needs.
The Africa Green Fund will pool funds from various sources to support country-owned-and country-led initiatives and climate compatible development. It will help finance public and private sector programmes and projects that will contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable development on the continent. The Africa Pavilion will offer an opportunity to reflect on the design of the Green Climate Fund in a manner that results in a tailored financing platform for Africa at the scale needed for a climate resilient and low carbon development future. It will do this through practical programmatic approaches, with incentives for the private sector to leverage investments. SOURCE African Union Commission (AUC)

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