SoS Cham opens ECOWAS climate change forum
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Momodou Kotu Cham, secretary of state for Forestry and the Environment, yesterday opened a two-day ECOWAS climate change focal points preparatory meeting on the Bali Road Map, at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi.
The forum brings together delegates from across West Africa to brief them on the latest development in intergovernmental climate change process and to properly prepare them to effectively and efficiently participate in the negotiations under the Bali Road Map processes. Organised by UNEP, in collaboration with the Department of Water Resources and the National Environment Agency, the negotiation process, under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) Bali Road Map, sets out guidance and direction for negotiations to address climate change issues from now up to 2012 and beyond. It is expected that after the two-day meeting, the outcome of these negotiations will be finalized at Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009.
Declaring the sub-regional forum opened, SoS Cham noted that being in the sub-region and being most vulnerable to climate change, West African countries need assistance to address the most pressing climate threats and to implement adequate adaptation measures.
"As we progress towards Copenhagen," he stated, "all efforts should be made to conclude on the commitment of Annex One countries in the form of quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives (QELROs)." He went on: "The ad-hoc working group on long term cooperative action will have to finalise an agreement on all the four building blocks - mitigation, adaptation, technology and financing, and establish a timetable under the Kyoto Protocol." SoS Cham added that development and transfer of technology remains at the forefront as key elements for crafting a future climate regime and enabling effective implementation of the ongoing actions on both mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
He told negotiators that during their negotiations, the nationally appropriate mitigation actions for developing countries should not affect their goals for economic growth and poverty reduction. SoS Cham then called on all the negotiators to ensure that elements in the just concluded ECOWAS strategy and action plan are taken into consideration. For his part, Momodou B Sarr, executive director of the National Environment Agency, who is also the GEF Focal Point to The Gambia, said that in December this year, an extremely important conference of parties of the UNFCCC and meeting of parties of the Kyoto Protocol will take place in Copenghagen, where numerous critical decisions will be taken regarding the post-2012 emission reduction commitments by Annex One countries, under the Kyoto Protocol, among others.
"Reaching the final agreements in favour of Africa at the upcoming conference of parties will require very high level preparedness during these difficult negotiations," he said. He recalled the two subsidiary bodies under the Bali Road Map created to facilitate a successful outcome of the Copenhagen Conference of Parties at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties 13, held in Bali, less than two years ago. These subsidiary bodies (ad hoc Working Group on further commitments for Annex One parties under the Kyoto Protocol and the ad hoc Working Group on long term cooperative action under the convention), according to him, have had a series of meeting since the conference of parties 13 in Bali.
He then observed that during the two-day meeting, the progress made so far by the subsidiary bodies will be studied in detail as well as the African position on the building blocks of the major issues, to be decided at the Copenhagen conference. He added that the African continent can only benefit from these processes if her negotiators sharpen their focus and increase their level of preparedness. He expressed hope for a very successful outcome for Africa in Copenhagen.
Pa Ousman Jarju, director of Water Resources and national focal point for the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change (UNFCCC) to The Gambia, said that at the 13th UN Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in Bali in December 2007, governments reaffirmed that economic and social development and poverty eradication are global priorities. Governments, he added, also stressed the need for consideration of positive incentives, enhanced technology and financing and policy options to support developing countries in mitigating and adapting to climate change in the context of their sustainable development.
According to him, decisions taken by governments in Bali also marked a breakthrough in international climate change policy by highlighting a shared understanding for the necessity of common efforts, both by developed and developing countries and setting a deadline for parties to the convention to agree on a framework for long-term cooperative action by 2009.
Author: by Alhagie Jobe