18th September, 2011
Worried by the impact of climate change on the continent, African leaders will meet in Lagos, South West Nigeria tomorrow for a two-day conference to brainstorm on how to tackle the danger posed by climate change.
The conference is the African Mayoral Climate Change Conference. The Lagos State Government in collaboration with International Council Local Environmental Initiative (ICLEI) is organising the conference at the Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island.
The 2-day event which will end on Wednesday has the theme, Building Climate Change Resilient African Cities: Climate Proofing African on the Road to COP17.
The conference will provide an opportunity to prepare for proper representation at the COP 17 meeting coming up in South Africa.
Lagos Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello said the conference was to provide a formidable platform for local authorities and their stakeholders in West Africa and East Africa to focus on local action both on climate change adaptation and resilience, as well as on energy and mitigation within a specific West African context.
The programme will start with the opening panel discussion session with the Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola; Executive Director, ICLEI, United Nations Development Programme, UNDP representative, United Nations Habitat representative and African Development Bank, ADP, representatives deliberating on Perspectives on Climate Change.
Some of the facilitators expected at the 2-day event include Dr. Mohammed Kadi, Secretary General, African Centre of Metrological Applications for Development, ACMAD; Hama- Arba Diallo, former Executive Secretary, UN Convention to Combat Desertification; Luanda Fairhurst, Climate Change Adaptation Programme Manager, ICLEI, Africa.
According to Bello, Africa needs to unite to make a strong voice, adding that â€œthe evidence of climate change is real; it is so real in Africa that we can feel the impacts all around us. To deny the reality of climate change and its attendant consequences now is deliberate ignorance.
â€œAll over the landscape of Africa, we can feel the excruciating consequences of global warming. We can feel it in agriculture, wildlife, extreme weather conditions, coastal damage, drought, health risks and water scarcity. Our flora and fauna are hit by the impacts and the concept of bio-diversity is increasingly becoming narrower.”
He stated that â€œwe must admit that Africa is disadvantaged in the fight against climate change. It has less capacity to respond to climate challenge, contributes less to the emission of Green House Gases but ironically most vulnerable to the dire consequences of the changing climate. Africa thus needs to be active partaker in multilateral efforts to act.
â€œAs Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012, Africa needs to get prepared for more inclusive suitable options to replace it. A collective response to towards fighting climate change is for global public good and Africanâ€™s interest.â€
By Kazeem Ugbodaga