A few months away from the decisive round of negotiations for an agreement on climate change in Copenhagen in December, West African parliamentarians and local elected representatives have decided to make their voice heard. Praia, the capital of Cape Verde, is playing host to a regional workshop on the subject “an alliance of parliamentarians and local elected representatives at the service of climate governance in West Africa”, from 03 to 06 August 2009.
Organised by the West African Regional Marine Conservation Programme (PRCM) as part of the Programme in Support of the Regional Network of Parliamentarians and Local Elected Representatives of the PRCM countries, coordinated by IUCN Senegal, this atelier will be attended by parliamentarians, local elected representatives and experts from the countries in the PRCM (Mauritania, Senegal, Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Sierra-Leone). Representatives from other ECOWAS countries are also expected to attend. While climate change is a global phenomenon, the consequences are more obvious in the developing countries, particularly in Africa, where the populations are more vulnerable. The weakening of economies largely dependent on the primary sector is further accentuated by the impacts related to climate change. The key sectors for human development in Africa - agriculture, forestry, ecosystems, health, fishing and tourism - are in danger of being irremediably affected, with potentially disastrous consequences on the life of the populations.
For Africa, the challenge remains in its entirety, for the different implementation mechanisms of the United Nations Framework Agreement on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol have not, up till now, made it possible to take into account the preoccupations of the continent, which continues to suffer the backlash of global warming.
According to Mr Racine Kane, the Head of the IUCN Senegal Mission - “in this present negotiation process that some describe as the last chance for Africa, the Parliamentarians are entitled to their say, all the more so since in all the processes for defining environmental policies in Africa, the contribution of Parliamentarians turns out to be necessary as depositaries of the prerogatives of the allocation of budget resources, the voting of laws and the ratification of international conventions”.
At least four chairmen of parliamentary institutions have confirmed their attendance at the Praia meeting, which will allow Parliamentarians and local elected representatives to establish a common stance on climate change. This will mark the beginning of a series of actions in advocacy that the regional network of parliamentarians and local elected representatives to be set up will implement.
For more information, contact.
Racine Kane, leader of the IUCN’s Senegal mission: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 338690280
Birima Fall, Communication officer, WWF : email@example.com