Interview – "The Seventh African Development Forum (ADF) will ensure adequate African approach to the continent’s concerns and priorities on Climate change"
Interview with AfDB Quality and Compliance Manager, Anthony Nyong
The Bank is participating in a major Forum (the ADF) in Addis Ababa next week what is the Forum all about and what is the level of the Bank’s involvement in it?
You are certainly referring to the African Development Forum (ADF VII) which will be held in Addis Ababa from October 10 to 15, 2010. That very important conference will be the seventh in the series of biannual Forum jointly initiated since 1999 by the Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union Commission (AUC) to address the challenges of development in Africa and to establish a consensual African-driven development agenda on the continent. It is Africa’s premier multi-stakeholder platform for dialogue to build consensus and mobilize partnerships for Africa’s development. Let me express my appreciation to the Ethiopia Field Office for ably coordinating this event.
The Bank is not just participating but co-sponsoring the Forum which will bring together eminent personalities, including Heads of State and Government, representatives of Governments, public and private sector operators, civil society organizations, bilateral and multilateral development agencies etc.
The theme of ADF VII will be “Acting on Climate Change for Sustainable Development in Africa.”
As you know, African economies rely heavily on climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry, other natural resources and tourism. The Forum will therefore discuss climate change from people’s and sustainable development perspectives, having in mind issues of wide spread poverty and human development in Africa. The objective of the Forum is not only to raise awareness but also to mobilize effective commitment and actions at all levels on the part of all stakeholders and partners to effectively mainstream climate change concerns into development policies, strategies, programmes and practices in Africa.
What are the key issues to be discussed at the Forum and how will they affect sustainable development of the continent?
The main programme of the Forum which will be opened by the Ethiopian Head of State and attended by the Chief Executive Officers of AU/ECA/AfDB will comprise plenary and breakout sessions in addition to the opening and closing ceremonies. The plenary sessions will highlight the key issues relevant to climate change challenges in Africa and will provide broad policy orientations needed to address these challenges and to take advantages of the opportunities that climate change presents. The plenary sessions will set the stage for in-depth discussions that will be held in the break out sessions. All sessions will highlight the imperative of mainstreaming climate change into development concerns at the sector and macro-economic levels. An important aspect of the Forum will involve a high-level launch of the Climate for Development in Africa (Climdev-Africa) Programme and its African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC). The launching ceremony of the Climdev-Africa programme will be co-chaired by the Heads of AUC, AfDB and UNECA.
The five main plenary and several break out sessions of the Forum will among others turn around the following clusters of issues: governance and leadership response to climate change; climate change agriculture and food security; climate change and human development; climate risk management-monitoring, assessment early warning and response; climate change, trade and industrial development; financing adaptation and mitigation; climate change and infrastructure development; climate change and ecosystem sustainability; science, technology innovation and capacity building; private sector response to climate change ; climate change, growth and poverty reduction as well as gender and climate change. The Bank is co-organizing the session on private sector response to climate change with the Africa Business Roundtable. This is in recognition of the pivotal role that the private sector is expected to play in mobilizing resources for climate change finance. As you can see it is indeed a reference Forum on climate change.
A meeting of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) will also be held during this Forum. CoDA’s activities centre on advocacy work for Africa’s development, placing emphasis on key issues such as regional integration, governance, the financial crisis and climate change; and sensitizing Africa and international opinion on its development needs and help to mobilize good will and resources for the attainment of the continent’s development objectives. This event is being organized by CoDA’s focal point at the Bank, Mr. Lamin Manneh.
The Bank Group President, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, will address the High Level Leadership Dialogue on Governance and Leadership Response to Climate Change, where about 5 African Heads of States have confirmed participation. The Bank Group President will also be attending 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 the work of the AGF. He is a member of this panel of eminent persons.
The African Development Bank is organizing a side event at the Forum, what is the main objective of the side event and who are the participants in it?
The Bank will be organizing a side event on the theme:“Consultations on the Proposed Africa Green Fund” (AGF). This will hold in the afternoon of Tuesday October 12, 2010 at the United Nations Conference Centre, Addis Ababa. The objective of the side event is to provide a consultation platform for African stakeholders to discuss the proposed AGF as an instrument to enable the African Development Bank to receive and manage resources allocated to Africa from all sources including the fast- track financing and long term pledges made under the Copenhagen Accord. The hosting and managing of such Fund in Africa by the African development Bank will enhance Africa’s access to the much needed global resources for the purpose of tackling the challenges of climate change on the continent. The side event will also increase awareness of African stakeholders on AfDB’s comparative advantages, roles and actions in addressing climate change issues in Africa. One of AfDB’s comparative advatages is the Bank’s operational presence and experience throughout Africa and its experience in managing similar funds as well as in implementing projects that this fund will be addressing. The Bank’s heavy focus on infrastructure sits well with the tenets of the Africa Green Fund. Speakers at the side event, which will be chaired by Her Excellency Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, AUC commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Economy will include H.E. Prof. Ogunlade Davidson Sierra Leone Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Ms. Hela Cheikhrouhou, Director of the Bank’s Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department, Mr Lamin G. Barrow, AfDB Resident Representative in Ethiopia and myself. About 44 Ministers have confirmed participation at the Forum and the Side event. Other participants will include representatives of CSOs/NGOs, policy, finance houses, academia and developmental partners.
How will the ADF VII conference contribute to a Pan-African response to climatic change?
Discussions and dialogue during ADF VII will certainly result in better informed African stakeholders of the threats and opportunities of climate change. The Forum will also enhance the knowledge of African stakeholders in managing climate risks through mainstreaming climate change concerns in development policies and practices thereby strengthening the capacity of African stakeholders to address climate change challenges and leverage opportunities that may arise. This will ensure an effective participation of Africa in the Cancun climate change negotiations and beyond. The AfDB will capitalize on an enhanced support for the implementation of Africa’s priority climate change initiatives and programmes through strengthened effective strategic alliances and partnerships for Africa’s climate change agenda.
More importantly, the Bank’s involvement in the Form is to ensure a better consolidation of the African common position on climate change in the perspective of the upcoming international discussions on climate change where climate finance is expected to be in the centre of the negotiations. In conclusion, ADF VII will strengthen Africa’s participation in the international climate change negotiations with a view to ensuring adequate reflection of the continent’s concerns and priorities in a post-2012 international climate change regime.