An issue paper adopted by the ACP Group’s Sub-committee on Sustainable Development will serve as the basis of a common ACP position at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP21 in Paris this December. Essentially, the document reaffirms the view that climate change is the single greatest challenge to the sustainable livelihoods, security and well-being of African, Caribbean and Pacific peoples, posing immediate and long-term significant risks to sustainable development efforts. Climate change threatens the very survival of the 79 developing countries that make up the ACP Group.
On Thursday 5th November, the European External Cooperation Infopoint held a lunch time conferecen on ‘Services to face climate change: Making climate information available and pertinent for everyday decisions.’ Mr. Denis Salord, Head of Unit, DG Development Cooperation on Thematic intra-ACP prgorammes introduced the conference, alongside Mr. Viwanou Gnassounou , Assistant Secretary General of the ACP and Head of Sustainable Economic Development and Trade at the ACP Secretariat. Presentatioins were made by Mr. Jolly Wasambo, MESA Project Coordinator at the African Union Commission.
The Commission's international public consultation on how the EU could contribute to achieving better international governance of oceans and seas to the benefit of sustainable blue growth has been completed. The EU is a global frontrunner in the development of sustainable ocean-based economies through its robust set of environmental rules, reformed Common Fisheries Policy and its global fight against illegal fishing. The Commission shall analyse the contributions received and based on the views gathered, it will launch an initiative on international ocean governance next year. Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella remarked: "Governance gaps exist when it comes to managing our oceans sustainably. This puts our marine resources and environments at risk."
The Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) on the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) negotiations is well underway and the draft interim report has been published for comments until 24 October. The Trade SIA on the EGA negotiations are also known as the “Green Goods Initiative”. The Trade SIA uses qualitative and quantitative research to assess the potential environmental, economic and social impacts of the liberalisation of trade in environmental goods and services. In support of this analysis, the Trade SIA will employ the use of this questionnaire to gather stakeholder feedback on key issues. Stakeholders will have yet another opportunity to provide feedback when the SIA draft final report is published for comments during the month of November. A survey is being conducted to feed into the SIA analysis.
This study on Blue growth Potential outlines how the Horizon 2020 research is embedded in the wider context of Food Security, sustainable agriculture and forestry , marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy. The report highlights one of the main purposes of this societal challenge, namely to sustainably optimize biological resources. The Framework Programme provide a number of bilateral agreements and dialogues, as well as international cooperation initiatives such as the EU-Africa dialogue on research and innovation (R&I).
The European Union (EU) has launched a new programme called Building Disaster Resilience to Natural Hazards in Sub-Saharan African Regions, Countries and Communities. It provides 88 million (US$95 million) over the next five years and targets funding local climate research centres and help the continent prepare for natural disasters. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, African Union Commissioner for Rural economy and agriculture said, “Over the last decade, Africa lost about 700,000 lives to natural disasters such as floods and droughts (…) Addressing this requires predictable financial resources.” The programme focuses on five priority areas, including: (i) climate research and data centres; (ii) increasing regional coordination and disaster risk reduction monitoring.
At the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development, the EU announced €80-million package of funds to support disaster risk management across Sub-Saharan Africa that will be financed as part of the EU-ACP cooperation. Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction congratulated the project and expressed UNISDRs excitement to partner with African governments to implement the programmes. She explained, “This is a strategic long-term investment in building resilience in Africa. It will help to reduce mortality and economic losses by improving preparedness, early warning systems and putting in place systems for understanding how disaster losses are generated in order to avoid them in the future.”
Members of Parliament from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific as well as the European Union joined leaders from the Pacific region in highlighting the urgency and significance of achieving a world-wide legally-binding agreement on climate change at the United Nations’ COP21 climate conference in Paris this December. During the keynote debate of the 29th ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA), currently in session in Suva, Fiji, guest speaker President Anote Tong of Kiribati stressed that concrete action and achievements by the international community, including proposals for “credible technical solutions” to deal with the severest impacts of climate change faced by his own country, remain elusive.
Pope Francis's 180-page encyclical on the environment, a collection of principles to guide Catholic teaching on the issue, urges wealthier countries to change their lifestyle and energy consumption to avert the unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem. Pope Francis has called on the world’s rich nations to begin paying their “grave social debt” to the poor and take concrete steps on climate change. It reads, “The foreign debt of poor countries has become a way of controlling them, yet this is not the case where ecological debt is concerned (…) In different ways, developing countries, where the most important reserves of the biosphere are found, continue to fuel the development of richer countries at the cost of their own present and future."
Seas and oceans were amongst the major issues on the agenda at 29th ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) in Suva, Fiji. These issues covered development-related dimensions of climate change, biodiversity, renewable energy, fisheries, maritime security, oil and seabed minerals. The ACP-EU JPA brought together lawmakers from across Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific as well as Members of the European Parliament to engage politically and take joint stances on a number of issues of common concern. JPA Co-Chair Hon. Fitz Jackson added, “There needs to be a recognition to the unique challenges SIDS face, which affect their long-term sustainable development.” The JPA intends to publish joint resolutions on the following issues: financing of investment and trade, including infrastructure, in ACP countries and more.