African countries should mainstream climate change into their development policies, planning and practice as a way of building capacity in the face of changing environment conditions.
Member states were also urged to build capacity, collect, analyse and use climate data and information for decision-makers at all levels.
This came out during a high-level dialogue at the first Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-I) conference at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last week.
The dialogue underscored Africa’s development challenges in the context of climate change including how member states are leading the agenda, and the continent’s climate change negotiating position in Durban, South Africa next month. More specifically, the dialogue noted climate change and development were inseparably interlinked.
African Union Commission director for Rural Economy and Agriculture Abebe Haile Gabriel said Africa was most vulnerable to impacts of climate change, as it is warming faster than other regions.
As a result, Africa is the least able to cope with climate changes.
Gabriel added Africa’s high vulnerability stemmed from the natural fragility of its ecosystems, exposure to frequent natural disasters and dependence of livelihoods and economic activities on highly climate sensitive natural resources and rain-fed agriculture.
During the somewhat tense deliberations between north and south on Africa’s common position ahead of Cop 17 next month, member states were urged to strengthen their policies and interventions for effective climate change adaptation.
“In this regard, particular emphasis should be placed on increasing land use efficiency, water use efficiency and agricultural productivity with a view to enhance resilience, food production and security in Africa.
“African negotiators involved in change negotiations are urged to consider land use efficiency and hydro power development as clean development options and access financing for investment through the Clean development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto protocol,” African countries said in their outcome statement at the end of the conference.
The conference underscored the need for Africa to explore low-carbon development within the context of the green economy. In this regard, the conference also addressed challenges of energy access and improvement of forest governance.