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African Ministers Call For Adaptation, Mitigation Of Global Temperature Below 1.5°C


MINISTERS and delegates from 54 African nations meeting in Cairo at the 15th Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), on Friday, issued what they called the Cairo Declaration, which reaffirmed their resolve to reach a binding Climate Change agreement that reflects the continent’s priorities and aspirations at the Paris talks, later in the year. 

   The Declaration, according to a statement by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), also spotlights the need to improve the management of Africa’s abundant natural resources and the integration of the inclusive green economy in development planning.

   AMCEN President and Minister of Environment of Egypt, Dr. Khaled Fahmy said: “The Cairo Declaration covers a wide range of priorities for the continent. From climate change and natural resources management to the illegal trade in wildlife and the integration of the inclusive green economy across sectors. African countries are showing solidarity and a determination to play a positive and responsible role in support of sustainable development, building resilience and poverty eradication.”

   Stressing Africa’s vulnerability to the effects of climate change, in particular the adverse effects on ecosystem, food production, and social and economic development, the ministers agreed to support an agreement in 2015 that provides parity between mitigation and adaptation, noting the increased burden for adaptation in developing countries.

   They indicated the agreement needs to ensure that the mitigation ambition keeps global temperatures well below 1.5°C from pre-industrial levels, by the end of the century.

   The Cairo Declaration calls for a global goal for adaptation, which takes into account adaptation needs and associated costs, including support for developing countries, while recognising the need to up adaptation investments in developing nations.

  The second edition of the Africa Adaptation Gap report indicates that extensive areas of Africa will exceed 2°C by the last two decades of this century, relative to the late 20th century mean annual temperature. This would have a severe impact on agricultural production, food security, human health and water availability.

   In a 4˚C world, projections for Africa suggest sea levels could rise faster than the global average and reach 80 cm above current levels by 2100 along the Indian and Atlantic Ocean coastlines, with particularly high numbers of people at risk of flooding in the coastal cities of Mozambique, Tanzania, Cameroon, Egypt, Senegal and Morocco.

   Under these scenarios, adaptation costs would reach US $50 billion annually by mid-century.

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