African Environment Ministers commit to address environmental crises

Biodiversity

At the 17th Ordinary session of the AMCEN all 54 African countries have committed to addressing the key environmental challenges of climate change, land degradation, loss of biodiversity and plastic pollution. The Ministers further committed to raise the political profile and institutionalize a circular economy, and a blue economy to support the implementation of the Africa Agenda 2063. The Conference was instrumental in charting a common voice for Africa at the UN Climate Change COP 25, the negotiations on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and the 75th UN General Assembly, in September 2019.

Alice Ruhweza, Africa Regional Director, WWF said “The Durban Declaration on Taking Action for Environmental Sustainability and Prosperity in Africa adopted by all 54 African states at the AMCEN makes a very important connection between Africa’s natural resources and the prosperity of its people. WWF welcomes Ministers’ call to Heads of State and Government to attend the UNGA 75, in order to provide political direction to the post post-2020 global biodiversity framework and raise the visibility of biodiversity and contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030”. She further noted that the establishment of the African Group of Negotiators on biodiversity allows African countries to articulate African perspective, priorities during the negotiations in the leads up to the UN CBD COP 15.

The Ministers also committed to implement the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration through Africa’s own Pan Africa Agenda for Ecosystem Restoration for Increased Resilience and to entrench biodiversity conservation and its sustainable use across important economic sectors by working to develop and implement standards for accounting for natural resources as a critical part of national wealth to support short and long term economic decision making.

Alice Ruhweza added “Alongside the Environment Ministers, WWF recognizes the critical role of the private sector and other non-state actors to promote and invest in circular economy, to create employments, sustainable trade and markets for green products and services”

Prabhat Upadhyaya, Senior Policy Analyst, WWF South Africa said on the plastic pollution commitment: “This is a significant moment that adds to the global momentum we are witnessing in our societies to address plastic pollution. African environment ministers have listened and responded to the African citizens’ demands. This development sends a clear signal to all countries that we need to come together to effectively address this challenge. In the coming future, realizing a global governance architecture will ensure that the responsibility to address plastic pollution is not shifted solely to common citizens but that industries and governments are made accountable”. He further added “For us in South Africa, the Durban Declaration could not have come at a better time. As we prepare for the plastics colloquium next week, as the AMCEN Presidency, South Africa must show leadership in addressing plastic pollution across its entire value chain. We can’t expect our children to do beach clean ups for the rest of their lives”.

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