The AfDB 2009 Annual Meetings: A Climate Friendly Conference

05/05/2009
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On April 30, African Development Bank Vice President Zeinab El-Bakri announced “Our Annual meetings … this year are officially carbon neutral.” The Dakar meeting has been certified carbon neutral by Atmosfair.  This NGO is a pioneer in the process of carbon offsets and uses the rigorous CDM Gold Standards, a best practice methodology and high quality carbon credit label for both Kyoto and voluntary markets

The African Development Bank is demonstrating its commitment to the environment in very concrete ways.  To make the Annual Meeting in Dakar on May 13-14 carbon neutral and climate friendly, the CO2 emissions produced by participants’ flights to Dakar, their use of hotels and meeting venues, their local transport back and forth to meetings, and all other services are all being offset in the voluntary carbon market - an acknowledged best practice for organizations.  

The offset process involves estimating the cost of the emissions and investing that same amount in registered projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The African Development Bank therefore purchased carbon credits of €85,400 or about US$125,000 based on the estimated costs for the 1,200 Annual Meeting participants. In exchange, it received an official certificate from Atmosfair stating that the meetings are carbon neutral. Atmosfair will invest this sum in African development projects that use and promote the use of sustainable energy.  Such projects, for example, involve switching from diesel generators to renewable energy or promoting reductions in methane from landfills and sewage plants. The carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels produced by the 2009 AfDB Annual Meetings in Dakar thus becomes an investment  in projects using and promoting an equivalent amount of renewable energy.  This kind of strategic analysis is one prerequisite for sound project implementation with lasting development impacts.

Aware that the environment and sustainable development are integrally linked, the African Development Bank is committed to environmental sustainability in its policies and practices.  Indeed, we know that the foreseeable consequences of climate change on African economies, which are largely dependent on agriculture, are among the most important challenges for development.

In response to the dramatic potential of climate change to African economies, therefore, the Boards of Directors approved the Bank’s Climate Risk Management and Adaptation Strategy on April 30 of this year.  The strategy focuses on three core ideas.  First, in order to ensure that investments for development are as effective as possible, measures are being taken to protect them from the deleterious effects of climate change and variability and extreme weather events. Second, the Bank’s member countries will be encouraged to pursue climate-friendly development strategies to forestall the damages provoked by climate change.  In addition, the Bank will also promote legal and regulatory reforms in member countries so that they integrate climate risk management and adaptation into their national policies Last but not least, the Bank is developing tools, guidelines and trainings so that countries can move towards a climate resilient development path and economic growth.