South Africa. Environmental Affairs from across Africa will converge in Johannesburg on 7-12 June to debate and profile pressing global environmental issues.
South Africa will host the 12th session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), and will also be taking the helm of AMCEN for the next two years, said the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Tuesday.
“South Africa’s chairing of the AMCEN will provide an opportunity to raise the profile of global environmental issues in Africa as well as represent Africa at international environmental meetings.”
AMCEN discussions at the 12th session will focus on the implementation of the Action Plan for the Environment Initiative of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), developed by United Nations Environmental Project (UNEP) on behalf of AMCEN.
“The 12th session will also provide a forum for policy dialogue on Climate Change, financing adaptation and environmental programmes and projects as well as international environmental governance,” said the department.
The purpose for the policy dialogue on climate change is to begin a process of discussions and negotiations that will ensure a strong presence and voice for African countries at crucial environment conferences.
These include the 15th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 5th Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009.
The purpose for the policy dialogue on “Financing adaptation and environmental programmes and projects” is to identify various sources of financing for adaptation and environmental programmes in Africa.
Discussions on “International Environmental Governance and the United Nations Reforms” will enable the ministers to obtain up -to-date information on the topic; review the options and challenges emerging from the debates on international governance and their implications for the sustainable development of the region; and agree on how Africa should proceed forward with the on-going debate.
The official opening ceremony for AMCEN will take place on 10 June 2008.
One of the major highlights of this 12th Session of AMCEN will be the launch of “Africa: Atlas of our changing environment”.
The Atlas is the first major publication to depict rapid environmental change in Africa’s countries using satellite imagery, and is a resource for remedial action at all levels.
The first Extraordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for Cooperation in the Protection and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the West and Central African Region will also run parallel to AMCEN from 9-10 June 2008.