It is with profound pleasure that I welcome you to the ACP House for the second Regional Technical Meeting (RTM) of the Intra-ACP Global Climate Change Programme (GCCA). This technical meeting aims to explore ways to improve the exchange of information, synergies, improve cooperation and coordination among the regions and between the regions and the ACP Secretariat, and with other climate related programmes in order to best address climate change as a challenge to our development.
This meeting has come at a crucial moment.
The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released in March this year points out that: “In recent years, human-induced changes in weather patterns and climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems in all continents and across the oceans”. The report further says that such impacts have resulted in “alternations of ecosystems, disruption of food production and water supply, damage to infrastructure and settlements, morbidity and mortality and consequences for mental health and human well-being”. ACP countries are already feeling some of these impacts. According to the report, “Insufficient responses to these impacts are already eroding the basis for sustainable development”.
Indeed, the efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by all ACP countries and in particular Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the Landlocked Countries in Africa have been negatively affected by the adverse impacts of climate change, as well as by the global economic and financial crisis, exacerbating the loss of biodiversity, land degradation and natural disasters.
Article 32a of the revised Cotonou Partnership Agreement clearly acknowledges that climate change is a serious global environmental challenge and a threat to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The topics under discussion here today form part of the focus areas to address some of the issues raised under Article 32a of the revised Cotonou Partnership Agreement.
Climate change is also one of the priority areas in the 11th European Development Fund (11th EDF) financial instrument for 2014 -2020. Future interventions on Climate change impacts will be clearer when the ongoing discussions on the 11th EDF are concluded between the ACP secretariat and its counterparts in the European Commission. The high profile given to climate change echoes the increasing international awareness and acknowledgement of the need to address climate change as a challenge to sustainable development.
We need to act now.
At the international level, on-going work under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) provides an opportunity for ACP countries to work together and in collaboration with other international partners towards an international climate change agreement in 2015, and in keeping with the global objective of maintaining the global temperature at below 2°C, for the benefit of the present and future generations.
At the same time, the post-2015 Development Agenda is under discussion. This provides an opportunity to address the remaining gaps towards accelerating progress in attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), respond to new challenges and contribute to the outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference. As a cross-cutting issue, climate change is considered as one of the potential critical areas for action if we are to achieve the objectives of the post-2015 Development Agenda.
The Intra-ACP GCCA Programme is an innovative Programme that provides targeted technical assistance to ACP countries and regions to assist them in addressing the impacts of climate change, as a challenge to achieving sustainable development. The Programme strongly focuses on improving the understanding of the effects of climate change and contributing to adaptation and mitigation responses.
This second Intra-ACP GCCA regional Technical Meeting is expected to identify synergies and areas of common action with other climate change related programmes and projects, and build alliances with other partners. This will complement and strengthen existing efforts to tackle climate change in ACP countries and regions.
It is also expected to provide the way forward towards strengthening intra-regional collaboration, networking and communication, building on the collective strength of our ACP countries and regions to addressing climate change as a challenge to our development. The outcomes of this meeting will also contribute to preparations for the next UNFCCC international climate change conference (COP 20) in Lima Peru in December this year.
During the course of this three-day Intra-ACP GCCA Regional Technical Meeting, you will be hearing from the technical experts about the various successful efforts and actions being undertaken in ACP regions and countries.
We encourage you to interact and exchange views with each other in your various capacities as regional representatives, technical experts, government officials, private sector and civil society actors.
I wish you a productive and successful meeting.
I thank you all for your kind attention.
H.E Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni
ACP Secretary General