During a high level seminar on climate change, which took place in the margins of the EU-Africa Summit on 1 April 2014, European and African ministers reiterated their commitment to close cooperation on climate change and issued a joint statement in that regard.
The seminar was hosted by EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, the President of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN), Binilith Mahenge, and the African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Rhoda Tumusiime.
The seminar also included a high-level discussion between the European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik, and African ministers on joint environmental issues. The discussion addressed three topics that were considered as vital for EU-Africa cooperation and for potentially developing common positions, namely:
- the post 2015 development framework;
- illegal wildlife trafficking; and
- biodiversity/preparations for the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Climate change is a priority of the JAES. The negative effects of anthropogenic climate change for Africa become ever more frightening, as evidenced through droughts and shifting agricultural patterns in many African countries. One example, for instance, the Africa Adaptation Gap Report (2013) estimates that Africa will have to face very significant adaptation costs: it cites up to $7-15 billion per year by 2020.
Recent scientific documents relevant for the subject include the 2013 Assessment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change, and the 2013 "Turn Down the Heat" regional report on Sub-Saharan Africa by the World Bank and the Wuppertal Climate Institute in Germany.
Reinforced climate change cooperation between the EU and Africa is vital to push other regions to agree a new globally binding climate Agreement until the UNFCCC (United Nations Conference on Climate Change) Conference in Paris in December 2015.
This high level seminar discussed, among other topics, how climate change issues can be better addressed within the JAES structures after the 4th Africa-EU Summit.
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