The 2017 UN Environment Regional Consultation Meeting for African Major Groups and Stakeholders took place from 10 to 11 June 2017 at Radisson Blu Hotel, Libreville, Gabon. The meeting’s theme was “Investing in Innovative Environmental Solutions to accelerate implementation of Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063 in Africa”, and was held back to back with the Sixteenth Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) that took place on 12 to 16 June 2017. ECI was represented at the meeting by its Executive Director, Mr. Gerphas Opondo.
This year’s Regional Consultation provided a unique opportunity for the African Major Groups and Stakeholders to prepare and provide inputs for the Sixteenth Session of AMCEN and the 2017 UN Environment Assembly (UNEA3), which will be held in Nairobi, Kenya in December 2017. One of the main outcomes of the consultative meeting was the compilation of a statement and recommendations in the form of key messages by the Major Groups and Stakeholders for consideration by the African Environment Ministers during the AMCEN meeting and the United Nations Environment Assembly during the upcoming meeting in December 2017.
The highlights of the key messages in the statement included the following:
On AMCEN: The African Major Groups and Stakeholders called upon Member States through the African Heads of State to revisit the proposal to dissolve AMCEN and further urged Member States to live up to their obligation and pay the mandatory annual contribution to the AMCEN Trust Fund.
On implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and Africa Agenda 2063: The African Major Groups and Stakeholders called upon African Governments to accelerate the implementation of SDGs and Africa Agenda 2063 by taking an integrated, inclusive, innovative and gender-responsive approach to ensure collective actions.
On climate change and acceleration of Implementation of the Paris Agreement: The African Major Groups and Stakeholders called upon African Governments to adopt a declaration to re-affirm their commitment and strongly condemn the decision by the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Further, African Governments that have not yet ratified the Agreement were called upon to do so and prepare comprehensive low-carbon and climate-resilient strategies.
On Renewable Energy: The African Major Groups and Stakeholders called upon the African Governments to develop robust plans and resource mobilization strategies to invest in and harness the great renewable energy potential in the continent in order provide access to millions of energy poor populations across the continent.
On Pollution: The African Major Groups and Stakeholders urged African Governments to take decisive action to combat all forms of pollution including ban on production, importation and use of plastics.
On Illegal Wildlife Trade: The African Major Groups and Stakeholders called upon member states to accelerate the implementation of the African Strategy on Combatting Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora.
On Gender, youth and indigenous peoples: The African Major Groups and Stakeholders called upon African Governments to embark on gender-responsive and participatory approaches where both women, men and youth are equally involved and well represented at all levels.