Africa’s Environment Ministers Urge Action on Environmental Challenges through Innovative Solutions
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African governments recognized the urgent need to combat land degradation and restore ecosystems in Africa, and highlighted the preparation of a pan-African action agenda to respond to land and ecosystem degradation challenges.

Ministers stressed that the outcomes of the Katowice Climate Change Conference in December 2018 should emphasize adaptation and finance as core elements for effective operationalization of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

21 September 2018: Ministers of environment and government representatives of African countries have committed to promote and invest in innovative solutions while implementing concrete actions to overcome environmental challenges facing the continent. The Seventh Special Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) saw ministers commit to integrating innovative solutions into their countries’ national development agendas, and issued a declaration in which African governments agree “to enhance innovative environmental solutions and capacity building of human capital to achieve sustainable development in Africa.”

AMCEN met under the theme, ‘Turning Environmental Policies into Action through Innovative Solutions,’ from 17-21 September 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya. The conference consisted of an expert group meeting from 17-18 September and a ministerial segment on 19 September.

During the conference, ministers:

  • stressed the need to empower innovators, the private sector, micro-small and medium enterprises and civil society to use new approaches to address environmental challenges;
  • agreed to support pan-African environment platforms to promote and share experiences and solutions;
  • called on UN Environment and the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) to increase support to African countries and facilitate access to innovative partnerships to enhance efforts to implement policies, legislation and programmes promoting innovative solutions; and
  • considered issues to be discussed at the UNEA-4 in March 2019 and Africa’s common approach for engagement in the UNEA.

Ministers took decisions related to biodiversity, climate change, and health and environment. On biodiversity, African governments recognized the urgent need to combat land degradation and restore ecosystems in Africa; highlighted the preparation of a pan-African action agenda to respond to land and ecosystem degradation challenges; and agreed to develop common positions on priority issues in advance of the 2018 UN Biodiversity Conference in November 2018 to inform the post-2020 biodiversity framework.

On climate change, ministers, inter alia, stressed that the outcomes of the Katowice Climate Change Conference in December 2018 should emphasize adaptation and finance as core elements for effective operationalization of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and highlighted the importance of enhancing accessibility, predictability and sustainability of means of implementation.

On health and environment, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO), called on African governments to put human and environmental health at the center of policy making in all sectors. Ministers agreed to actively participate in the third Inter-ministerial Conference on Health and Environment in Africa, to convene in Libreville, Gabon, from 9-12 October 2018, under the theme ‘Health and Environment Strategic Alliance: A Catalysis for Action on the SDGs in Africa.’ [UN Environment News Story] [AMCEN Website]


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