Africa needs substantially scaled-up finance, technology and capacity-building to combat climate change

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Over thirty African Ministers of Environment have today attained a major milestone on the road for combating climate change on the continent.

The Nairobi Declaration adopted at the just ended Special session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) on climate change highlights major challenges and opportunities in the negotiations for a more equitable climate regime.

The Declaration provides African countries with a platform to make a strong case for support at Copenhagen 2009.

African Ministers of the Environment have agreed to mainstream climate change adaptation measures into national and regional development plans, policies and strategies.

In doing so, they will aim to ensure adequate adaptation to climate change in the areas of water resources, agriculture, health, infrastructure, biodiversity and ecosystems, forest, urban management, tourism, food and energy security and management of costal and marine resources.

Buyelwa Sonjica, President of AMCEN and Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs in South Africa, said, 'It is clear to me that as a continent Africa has needs that managing climate change and the environment have to speak to. I am heartened by the progress made by the negotiators and the political will shown by the presence of the ministers'.

She added, 'Africa looks at all aspects seriously with adaptation taking a special place. I am excited to be part of this very auspicious group. AMCEN being a specialized technical committee of the African Union shows the seriousness with which Africa looks at this issue'.

The Declaration urges all parties ? and particularly the international community ? that increased support to Africa should be based on the priorities for Africa, which include adaptation, capacity-building, financing and technology development and transfer.

The priority of African countries is to implement climate change programmes in a way that helps achieve sustainable development, particularly in terms of alleviating poverty and attaining the Millennium development Goals, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable such as women and children who are bearing the brunt of the impact today.

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