APF Special Session - Climate Change - Welcome Remarks by Mr Abdoulie Janneh


UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ECA

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
3 September 2009


Your Excellency, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi,
Your Excellency, Dr. Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union
Honourable Ministers,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my singular honour and pleasure to welcome you all once again to the UN Conference Centre in Addis Ababa and to this Special Session of the Africa Partnership Forum (APF) on Climate Change. 

For us in ECA it is always a pleasure to welcome our Prime Minister in our premises.  And today, we look forward to his keynote address that will most certainly set the tone for this important meeting.  We salute you, Mr. Prime Minister, for your unwavering support and significant contribution to addressing Africa’s development challenges including environmental and climate change problems.  We are confident that with your designation by the African Union Summit in Tripoli, Libya, as the continent’s spokesman on climate change, Africa’s prospects in Copenhagen have been greatly enhanced.  I also wish to extend very warm welcome and appreciation to all Ministers from Africa and its partner countries whose presence here demonstrates the importance we all attach to climate change.
ECA is pleased to host this special session of the APF in collaboration with the African Union, which is ably led by my friend and brother Dr. Jean Ping and our partners from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).  NEPAD is the arm of the AUC that is responsible for APF meetings and in this particular case, we want to express our appreciation to CEO Ibrahim Mayaki for the active role and preparation for this meeting to which David Batt and the OECD APF Support Unit also contributed significantly.

Climate change has devastating effects and impacts and poses considerable constraints to the growth and development prospects in all socio-economic sectors of Africa. The scale of the problem means that Africa needs partners to be able to respond vigorously to this challenge. The objective of this meeting, therefore, is to build a coalition around Africa’s key concerns and expectations on climate change in order to ensure that these are adequately addressed in a new climate change agreement. 

The organization of this special session is therefore very timely and significant, taking place barely thirteen weeks to the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP 15) in Copenhagen.  It is an integral part of the region’s preparatory processes towards Copenhagen, guided by relevant Summit decisions of the African Union; the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), whose Chairperson, the Honourable Minister from South Africa we welcome; the Joint AUC/ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance; the recently concluded Session of the Conference of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC); and of course the successive APF meetings in Berlin, Tokyo, and Addis Ababa. 

Africa’s key concerns on climate change relating to adaptation, mitigation, technology development and transfer, capacity building and financing, will no doubt be expounded by our renowned presenters namely Lord Nicholas Stern of the UK and Minister Ogunlade Davidson of Sierra Leone.  I am sure that their presentations will provide enough information and facts for our Ministers, negotiators, policy advisors and others to engage in constructive deliberations, which will contribute to articulating, concretizing and enhancing Africa’s prospects in Copenhagen.A Copenhagen outcome must be premised on a shared vision that unites the countries of the world in forging a just, equitable and inclusive climate change regime that recognizes the need for effective partnership in addressing the threat of climate change.

The presence at this meeting of Africa’s Ministers of Environment and their counterparts from partner countries is an ample demonstration of our common commitment and resolve to accompany Africa in the quest to collectively achieve a just and equitable climate change deal in Copenhagen.  It is only through a common sense of purpose, genuine empathy and collaborative partnership that the world can hope to overcome the challenges of climate change - a transboundary concern to every continent.  The partnership demonstrated at this meeting must be consolidated at every stage of the climate change consultation and negotiation process until the realization and accomplishment of our mutual expectations and objectives of a successful new climate agreement in Copenhagen for a safer, brighter and more prosperous world for all humankind.

It is in this context the ECA stands always ready to play an active role in this partnership and we are therefore quite pleased to host this Special Session, within the context of the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) of the joint AUC/ECA/AfDB Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) Programme. The objectives of this key programme include among others, enhancing the provision of data for climate services, policy and best adaptation practices; supporting the integration of climate into economic development and planning processes. I am pleased to announce that the Centre has received initial funding from DFID while several others have pledged significant support towards its full and sustained operationalization.


In conclusion, it is my sincere wish that this special APF session helps to mobilize and galvanize support from Africa’s partners around its key concerns on climate change.  This should be reflected in the Joint Statement that you are expected to adopt at this meeting on Africa’s expectations from Copenhagen and the role of the proposed coalition in this regard.  I am confident that this will be achieved.  It is also expected that the key political messages from this meeting will be disseminated to relevant regional and global processes particularly the upcoming UN Climate Change Summit taking place in New York later this month and the G20 meeting to be hosted by the United State in Pittsburgh that feed into and could influence the outcomes of Copenhagen. 

I thank you all for coming and wish you successful deliberations.