African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) supports Ramsar COP9 preparation
In its 10th session held in Sirt, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, 29-30 June 2004, the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) adopted a recommendation to the ministers in which it gave every support to Uganda in hosting the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention of Wetlands, particularly in view of the relevance of Ramsar Convention to Africa.
The main objective of the AMCEN session was to provide a platform for the environment ministers to discuss and chart the way forward for the implementation of the action plan on the Environment Initiative of NEPAD adopted by AMCEN at its second special session, held on 9-10 June 2003 and endorsed by the African Union (AU decision 10/II) at its second ordinary assembly, held in Maputo on 10-12 July 2003. The ministers also charted the way forward for the implementation of chapter 8 of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in September 2002.
The ministers deliberated upon substantive issues of importance to Africa, which needed to be addressed in the context of the implementation of the action plan, including the AMCEN work programme for 2005-2006. In doing so, the ministers reviewed the implementation arrangements and the role of AMCEN, taking into account the established structures of the African Union and the need to integrate the implementation of the action plan into the overall implementation of NEPAD as a whole.
The Ramsar representative at the AMCEN session was able to urge that wetlands be fully covered in the final version of the 2005-2006 AMCEN program of activities. The support gained from African ministers is a major step forward as COP9 will seek a global strategy for the sustainable use of wetlands to ensure water for ecosystems but also, and above all, water for people. This issue is of course of global concern, but is magnified in Africa.
The Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention would like to thank the governments of Kenya and Nigeria, which agreed to make the proposal on our behalf and seconded it in plenary.
-- reported by Abou Bamba, Ramsar Senior Advisor for Africa
Abou Bamba, right, with Ahmed Abdel Rehim from the Centre for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe