COP 17: AfDB President Reiterates Support for African Group of Negotiators

07/12/2011
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The President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, met the African Group of Negotiators taking part in the UN climate change negotiations in Durban on 7 December, and assured them of the Bank’s continued support.

The Chair of the African Group of Negotiators, Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, highlighted the Bank’s continuous support and solidarity to the African Group of Negotiators (AGN). He also emphasized the support that the Bank had already given to the AGN, in the form of analysis and knowledge as well as finance.

President Kaberuka assured the AGN, as he had two years ago in Copenhagen, that he was in Durban to re-affirm the necessity of building  the capacity of African negotiators, by providing technical support as well as  increasing the number of African delegates attending the negotiation meetings and other climate-related events. The President provided them with examples of the Bank’s support to the negotiators and to Africa in general. These included:

  • Funding the participation of about 20 negotiators every year to COP, and other meetings such as the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, and the Conference of Heads of State on Climate Change;
  • Providing interpretation services to the negotiators;
  • Supporting the African members of the Green Climate Fund Transitional Committee for their effective participation in the creation of the Green Climate Fund (GCF);
  • Providing legal support to the AGN on key negotiation issues;
  • Seconding senior Bank staff to the Technical Support Unit to assist in the creation of the GCF;
  • Supporting African countries to consolidate their Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA) proposals;
  • Providing technical support to the African Union Commission (AUC)  strengthen Africa’s participation in COP 17;
  • Responding to the request from African Heads of States to produce the framework document on the Africa Green Fund (AfGF);
  • Jointly organizing the creation of the Africa Pavilion at COP 17 together with the AUC, UNECA and the South African government.

In addition to the Bank’s support for the African negotiators, the President highlighted the Bank’s climate-related interventions in Africa that include, among others, financing clean energy and adaptation projects and programmes in Africa, and support for the forestry sector through the Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF).

He also emphasized that the Bank stands ready to consolidate its financing instruments related to climate change, including the Africa Green Fund, which is being designed as a useful mechanism to finance climate-related interventions in Africa in the coming years.

He also stressed the importance of Africa’s development in the coming decade, and that the Bank is ready to ensure that adaptation and climate financing issues are fully taken into consideration in the development process.

The President concluded his statement by underscoring that fighting global poverty and climate change are the two most important battles of this century.

The AGN unanimously commended the Bank for the services provided to the Africa Group and to support climate-related interventions in Africa. They urged the Bank to continue with the creation of the Africa Green Fund as Africa‘s specific mechanism to address climate finance challenges in Africa.

They also called upon the Bank to focus on adaptation and reducing vulnerability while continuing its efforts to address mitigation in Africa, especially in the forestry sector to support sustainable land management and increase access to carbon market.

Responding to concerns expressed by the AGN, the President emphasised that the Bank was already investing USD 8 billion a year to support development investments in Africa. Out of this, 60 percent is allocated to infrastructure, especially for providing clean energy and rural electrification facilities to African countries.

The President outlined the broad framework of the Africa Green Fund. He mentioned that creating a new fund is not the problem, but the bottom line is to increase access to existing and future funds. The request of African Heads of States to establish the Africa Green Fund is a response to this challenge.

As the President sees it, the Africa Green Fund is not competing with the Green Climate Fund, which is currently being negotiated in Durban. The Bank already has several funding mechanisms, most of them being adaptation-related. These mechanisms are being streamlined through the design of the Africa Green Fund platform. Through that Fund, the Bank is seeking to increase the access of African countries to fast start and long-term financing. For the President, the challenge is not the creation of a Fund but “to fund the Fund”.