A series of reports launched at the 15th session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) address biodiversity decline and progress towards the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Aichi Targets in Africa; development, food security and livelihoods in mountain communities; achievements from the China-Africa Cooperation Programme; climate change adaptation; and youth.
4 March 2015: A series of reports launched at the 15th session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) address: biodiversity decline; progress toward the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Aichi Targets in Africa; development, food security and livelihoods in mountain communities; achievements from the China-Africa Cooperation Programme; climate change adaptation; and youth.
Continued biodiversity loss in Africa is driven by a combination of human-induced factors, according to ‘The State of Biodiversity in Africa.’ The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) presented a preview of the report, which will be released later in 2015, during an AMCEN side event on World Wildlife Day. The report describes threats to biodiversity, including legal and illegal logging, land use change, natural resources consumption, population growth and pollution caused by industrialization and urbanization, and finds that Africa’s forests and freshwater ecosystems “are under serious threat.” For example, three million hectares of African forests are lost annually from conversion to agricultural lands for food and biofuels. To address these challenges, the report recommends, inter alia: increasing law enforcement to combat illegal wildlife trade; restoring forests through initiatives such as REDD+; and improving links between community development and wildlife management.
The report also reviews Africa’s progress in implementing the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and progress towards the Aichi Targets. As of February 2015, 25 African Parties to the CBD have ratified or acceded to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), and 47 African Parties have submitted at least one National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP). The report also highlights collaborative action in addressing biodiversity loss, through the African 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) and demarcation of transboundary protected areas (PAs).
‘The African Mountains Atlas’ presents maps and satellite data from 53 African countries to illustrate the challenges facing Africa’s mountain areas, from “the dramatic reduction in mountain glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Rwenzori” to earthquakes, landslides and volcanic eruptions. It addresses forest and water resources, and it underscores that climate change and deforestation induced water stress in mountain areas will compound Africa’s water scarcity and negatively impact its development. The Atlas also highlights initiatives to: improve food security and livelihoods of mountain communities across Africa; adapt to climate change and water stress; and harness mountains’ ecosystem services. The African Union (AU) prepared the Atlas in coordination with a number of governments and partners with the aim of providing information to support AMCEN’s strategic agenda on mountains.
A report by the UNEP China-Africa Cooperation Programme showcases South-South cooperation on environment and sustainable development. UNEP and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology initiated the Cooperation Programme in 2008 to enhance African countries’ capacity to address environmental challenges in the face of climate change. The report considers how to improve the role of ecosystem management in climate change adaptation. Additional topics addressed include: climate change adaptation; disaster reduction; ecosystem management; renewable energy; sustainable land management and combating desertification; sustainable management of dryland agriculture; technology transfer; and affordable drinking water and wastewater treatment.
UNEP also launched ‘Africa’s Adaptation Gap 2: Bridging the Gap – Mobilising Sources,’ which was released earlier in 2015, and ‘Accelerating Youth Action towards Africa’s Greener Future,’ which presents a roadmap for youth support of a greener future for Africa.
The 15th session of AMCEN is convening in Cairo, Egypt, from 2-6 March 2015, under the theme, ‘Managing Africa’s Natural Capital for Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication.’ [UNEP Press Release on ‘The State of Biodiversity in Africa’] [UNEP Press Release on ‘The African Mountains Atlas’] [Atlas Images] [UNEP Publications Website] [IISD RS Story on Africa Adaptation Gap Report] [UNEP Press Release on China-Africa Cooperation Programme Report] [AMCEN Session Website] [AMCEN Side Event List]