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At the 18th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 23-30 January 2012, African leaders endorsed the Africa Consensus Statement to Rio+ 20, marking yet another step toward the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+ 20) to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 20-22 June 2012. The statement outlines Africa’s key priorities and concerns to be reflected in the outcomes of Rio+ 20 and is the result of many months of collaboration among key stakeholders, including the African Development Bank (AfDB).
“Africa has much to gain from the worldwide shift to green growth development, a major theme of Rio+ 20. It is vital that Africa speaks with one strong and coherent voice at Rio to ensure this evolution in sustainable development recognizes and reflects the African context,” stated Mr. Aly Abou-Sabaa, Chair of the AfDB’s Climate Change Committee, who also represents the Bank on the steering committee overseeing Africa’s Rio+ 20 preparations. The African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) also serve on the steering committee.
These same organizations joined with the Republic of Congo and other UN bodies to hold a side event in conjunction with the AU Summit on 20 January 2012 on “Ensuring Africa’s Effective Participation in Rio+ 20.” The event helped mobilize Africa’s political leadership around the consensus statement and offered an opportunity to discuss the zero draft Rio+ 20 outcome document, as well as strategize on Africa’s participation at Rio+ 20 to ensure efforts and activities are well coordinated.
Over the next months, African negotiators will participate in international consultations on the zero draft of the Rio+ 20 outcome document with technical and logistical support from the AfDB. In the meantime, the AfDB and other planners will continue to flesh out plans and content for side events and a high level African Day. This event aims to bring Africa and its partners together at the highest level to deliberate on Africa’s priorities as enunciated in the consensus statement. All stakeholders, including civil society organizations and the private sector, are being encouraged to participate in organizing side events in the margins of Rio+ 20 to further enhance Africa’s visibility.
The Africa Consensus Statement to Rio+ 20 was adopted at the Africa Regional Preparatory Conference for Rio+ 20 organized by the AUC with the AfDB, the UNECA and other partners in Addis Ababa from 20-25 October 2011. In addition to its work on the steering committee and its technical, financial and logistic support, the AfDB also prepared the “Africa Report New and Emerging Challenges,” one of the background documents deemed critical to Rio+ 20 preparations.