UNEP Hosts African Parliamentarians Summit on Climate Change
Nairobi, 13 October 2009 - Entitled 'Climate Change: One Africa, One Voice, One Position', the African Parliamentarians Summit on Climate Change was launched on Tuesday by Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya. Co-organized by the Kenyan Parliament, the Pan African Parliamentarians Network on Climate Change and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, the two-day meeting is aimed at consolidating past and ongoing efforts and initiatives by Parliamentarians in Africa in the run-up to the AU-AMCEN special session in Addis Ababa, 19-23 October 2009, and the climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December.
President Mwai Kibaki reminded the parliamentarians that they have legitimacy to enact policies and laws to safeguard a safe, healthy and sustainable natural environment that serves the need of humanity as a whole.
"I am aware that the path to greener world is not easy but we must soldier on. We must take aggressive initiatives to provide for the reduction of greenhouse gases and domestication of international and regional conventions and protocol on climate change. In your capacity as political leaders, accept the challenge to combat climate change," he stressed.
"UNEP has been providing assistance to Africa in this negotiation process through AMCEN [African Ministerial Conference on the Environment] and various initiatives at national, sub-regional and regional levels that have helped shape and refine the position of the continent. We will continue our support with steadfastness and consistency with African needs and priorities. We join our voice to yours to enable Africa's voice to be heard," Angela Cropper, UNEP's Deputy Executive Director, told delegates at the opening of the summit.
She added that Africa stands to suffer most the effects of climate change and highlighted UNEP's commitment to work closely with the African Governments as is the case of AMCEN.
The summit, attended by over 63 parliamentarians from across the continent, follows a resolution made in Yaoundé, Cameroon, during the first Pan African Parliamentary Conference on Climate Change, hosted by the Cameroonian National Assembly from July 25 ? 27 2009, and which brought together parliamentarians from more than 30 countries from across Africa.
The current meeting will, hopefully, bring together high-level political support to help build a sustainable global climate change system at the talks in Copenhagen.