Managing Climate change: A Critical Governance Issue for Africa

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Managing climate change has become a governance issue. Consequent upon African Development Bank’s (AfDB’s) commitment to both governance and climate change, the institution’s president, Donald Kaberuka, will on Wednesday, October 13, 2010, in Addis Ababa address the first plenary session of the Seventh African Development Forum (ADF-VII) on the theme: “High Level Leadership Dialogue on Governance and Leadership Response to Climate Change”.

To show the strategic importance of the session in articulating Africa’s overarching governance and leadership challenges in dealing with climate change issues, some five African heads of state have confirmed their participation in the session.

Good governance is a critical element required for effective and sustained peace and security, economic growth and human development, especially as African countries are making efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). African governments are tasked with the responsibility of designing and implementing effective policies on mitigation and adaptation within an effective global climate governance framework.

Since the Fourth African development forum (ADF-IV), a consensus has emerged on the need for coherent actions built on accountable, transparent and participatory systems of governance. At the core of session will be political continuity, institutional capacity building, economic governance, public financial management, policy predictability, private sector development and corporate governance, a fair and consistent application of the rule of law, peace and security as well as civil society organizations and media independence.

These are the hallmarks of a capable state that should:

  • Guarantee peace and security and provide the enabling environment for equitable distribution of economic dividends;  
  • Promote education, invest in human resources development and deepen health and social services;
  • Encourage freedom of expression and vigorous exchange of views through a free and thriving media sector
  • Pursue sound macro-economic management, institutional reforms, including in the critical area of gender-equality
  • Deal swiftly with corruption and strengthen an enabling environment for the private sector to generate economic growth, jobs and income.

The Bank Group President will also attend the UN High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing which takes place in Addis at the same time. He will use the occasion to sensitize key African leaders on efforts to establish the Africa Green Fund (AGF), which would provide resources for climate change adaptation and mitigation programmes. He is a member of the UN panel of eminent persons on climate change. ADF VII will update African stakeholders on the threats and opportunities of climate change.

A meeting of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) will also be held during the Forum. CoDA’s activities centre on advocacy work for Africa’s development, laying emphasis on key issues such as regional integration, governance, the financial crisis and climate change.  The coalition also sensitizes local and international community on Africa’s development needs and helps to mobilize good will and resources for the attainment of the continent’s development objectives. The event is being organized by CoDA’s focal point at the AfDB,  Lamin Manneh.