PRESS RELEASE – 13 December 2011
Norway commits USD 20 million to support Eastern and Southern Africa meeting the climate change challenges
The Norwegian Embassy in Lusaka signed on 9 December a new five year agreement with COMESA to strengthen its efforts to meet with the enormous challenges from climate change in Eastern and Southern Africa.
The programme is an initiative of the three regional organisations COMESA, EAC and SADC, and aims at addressing the impact of climate change in the region, with a particular focus on scaling up support to conservation agriculture. The programme is also supported by the UK Department of International Development (DfID) and by the European Union.
“African solutions to climate change”
An official launch of the programme took place at a well attended side event at the African Pavilion during the recently completed high level climate change negotiations in Durban. The Vice President of Comoros, H.E. Fouad Mohadji launched the programme on behalf of COMESA. He was joined by the EAC Deputy Secretary General, Jean Claude Nsengivuma, who said: “The three regional economic commissions will synergize on their respective comparative advantages that include: mainstreaming climate change in national and regional policies and strategies; climate resilient and climate smart agriculture; vulnerability assessment and disaster risk reduction approaches; and climate change policy negotiations – to provide African solutions to climate change”.
At the launch, Norway’s Junior Minister for International Development, Arvinn Gadgil highlighted the new partnership between Europe and Africa and stressed the collaboration between Norway, the UK and the EU and their joint commitment in support of this programme. He announced that Norway was ready to contribute USD 20 million over the next five years to the programme.
“A contribution towards meeting a major global challenge”
While signing the agreement, the Norwegian Ambassador to Zambia, Arve Ofstad, referred to the major consequences for all countries in the world, if global temperature is allowed to increase by more than two degrees. He noted that the developed world today bears the main responsibility for CO2 emissions and therefore for global warming, and that Africa and the developing world are the main victims. However, Africa will have to make equal efforts to avoid becoming major emitters in the future.
This programme will provide a step in the right direction to support countries in Eastern and Southern Africa meeting these challenges, being better able to negotiate access to available funding, promoting research on possible solutions, and promoting a more climate robust agriculture. COMESA together with SADC and EAC has taken a strong lead to find the way forward. However, more resources will be necessary to meet the size of these challenges.
The Secretary General of COMESA Sindiso Ngwenya, expressed his gratitude to Norway and the other contributors. He assured that these issues are being taking seriously by COMESA and national governments on the African continent. He expressed confidence that this programme could lead to real impact on the ground as well as with regards to research, further funding, and national policy making.
Read more here:COMESA@COP17