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African Ministers Adopt Arusha Declaration on Africa’s Post Rio + 20 Strategy for Sustainable Development

Tuesday, 09 October 2012
The Fourteenth Regular Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) met in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania from 10 to 14 September 2012. The Conference brought together Environment Ministers and government representatives from over 40 African countries. Meeting for first time after the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio + 20),  African  Environment Ministers discussed the region’s integrated strategy to boost sustainable development and eventually concluded with the adoption of Arusha Declaration on Africa’s Post Rio + 20 Strategy for Sustainable Development.

In the wake of the climate negotiations at Rio + 20, the participants renewed their commitment to addressing an amount of challenges that threatens the future of the continent such as land degradation, climate change, deforestation, low agriculture productivity and poverty in an holistic way that uses the three pillars of sustainable development.

Furthermore, the meeting emphasized the need to speak for the continent in one voice and ensure the adequate representation of Africa in all committees established for the follow up of the outcomes of the Rio + 20.  In parallel the delegates identified a set of regional flagship programmes that reflects the countries’ needs in the area of environmental management.* 

Regarding the strengthening of UNEP, which was one of the key outcomes of Rio+20**, the ministers urged the General Assembly to:
  • Establish universal membership in the Governing Council of UNEP;
  • Ensure secure, stable, adequate and increased financial resources from the regular UN budget (to a level of two per cent of the overall budget), to be supplemented by voluntary contributions;
  • Strengthen UNEP engagement in key United Nations coordination bodies and empower the agency to lead efforts to formulate United Nations system-wide strategies on the environment;
  • Progressively consolidate UNEP headquarters functions in Nairobi, as well as strengthen its regional presence, in order to assist countries, upon request, in the implementation of their national environmental policies.
The ministers also requested additional measures beyond the Rio+20 agreement, including upgrading regional offices and establishing five sub-regional offices in Africa, as well as establishing a universal membership body known as the Environment Assembly with a ministerial segment called the Ministerial Conference on Environment.

In his opening speech, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner stressed: “The follow up to Rio+20 needs to mark a moment of renewed commitment, greater urgency and a turning point in terms of implementation of what has already been agreed. A fully engaged Africa at the UN General Assembly and beyond can assist greatly in ensuring that the gains made at Rio+20 are not only secured, but acted upon  in order to boost the lives and livelihoods of now one billion Africans and six billion others across this extraordinary world.”


* AMCEN flagship programmes include:

  • African Green Economy Partnership; Ecosystem Based Adaptation Programme for Africa;
  • African Programme on Sustainable Energy Development;
  • Partnership for Sustainable Consumption and Production in Africa;
  • Integrated Waste Management Programme for Africa;
  • Africa Integrated Environmental Assessment for Sustainable Development Planning;
  • Sustainable land management and desertification program in Africa;
  • Poverty and livelihoods;
  • African Program on Biodiversity and Ecosystems;
  • African Partnership for Capacity Building, technology transfer and skills development.

Source: UNEP News Centre
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