African Leaders call for the Africa Green Fund

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African Ministers attending the Cancun COP 16 Conference called again for the early establishment of an Africa Green Fund (AGF). This echoed an earlier call by African leaders in Copenhagen in December 2009 for a funding mechanism that sets aside resources for Africa, provides enhanced direct access, and equitable and transparent allocation of resources to be managed by the African Development Bank.

Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Spokesperson of African Heads of States on Climate Change declared that “the creation and resourcing of the Africa Green Fund is a pre-requisite to a global climate change deal”.

Professor Tiemoko Sangare, Minister of Environment of Mali and Chairman of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment stated that “we want Africa’s Climate Change Fund to be managed by the African Development Bank, so that we can follow up on how the money is being used”.

At a well attended side event in Cancun to discuss the proposal, the participants unanimously stressed the importance of Africa taking ownership and responsibility of managing its own Fund. It was felt that for a variety of reasons, African and other low income countries have not benefited much from current financing mechanisms.  

Abdoulaye Janneh, The Executive Secretary of The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa backed the proposal, underlining that African institutions are working together in support of the creation of the AGF. He added “The AGF is an optimal response to the rigorous criteria as laid out by Africa’s negotiators”.

The AU Commissioner for the Environment Rhoda Peace stressed that the “African Development Bank is our institution, we want it to grow, and we want it to manage resources for Africa in Africa’s own interest.

Speaking at the meeting, Lord Nick Stern, an authority on the economics of climate change, gave his strong support, summarising the arguments in favour as: the need to move to scale; urgency; the AfDB’s knowledge and experience of Africa and the need for “bringing together mitigation, adaptation and development within a single framework”.  

African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka responded that “the African Development Bank Group will proceed swiftly to put forward the proposal on the Africa Green Fund to the bank’s governing organs in order to make it a concrete reality. He emphasized “this is not the AfDB’s Fund, it is Africa’s Fund and we will ensure it is complementary to other mechanisms”.

It would work alongside other mechanisms and in collaboration with other institutions, and would be compatible with whatever arrangements were agreed by the UNFCCC. “Africa has special needs requiring dedicated attention, with an instrument managed by an African institution”.

The conclusions are consistent with the recommendations of the Committee of Ten African Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors, in Washington in October 2010 who declared “we endorsed the position taken in Copenhagen that Africa should be allocated an appropriate share of the additional finance for climate action, including adaptation and that in order to ensure that investments are determined by African needs and priorities, the additional resources should be channelled and managed by the AfDB. We welcome the commitment by the AfDB to develop a Green Fund for Africa.

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