• Your Excellency, Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda and Chairperson of the African Union,
• Your Excellency, Ali Bongo ONDIMBA, President of the Republic of Gabon and Coordinator of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC),
• Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government ,
• Your Excellency, Minister of Forestry, Seas and Environment of Gabon and President of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN),
• My sister, Her Excellency, Mrs. Amani ABOU-ZEID, AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy,
• Your Excellencies Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Environment, Energy, Water Resources, Meteorology, Agriculture, Transport, and Ministers from various Ministries; Parliamentarians, Ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps,
• Eminent Experts; Civil Society Groups, Press and Media Personnel,
• Distinguished Delegates,
• Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
1. On behalf of H.E Moussa Faki, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, it is a great honour and privilege for me to welcome your Excellencies to the 2018 Edition of Africa Day. The Chairperson of the African union Commission would have loved to be present at this very important day in our calendar for climate change. However, due to urgent and pressing matters of the Commission, he tenders his deep apology.
2. Since its inception at COP 17 in Durban in 2011, Africa Day organised jointly by the AfDB, AUC, ECA and NEPAD at the request of African Heads of State, has become one of the key features at the United Nations Climate Conferences
3. Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to take this opportunity to express our deep appreciation to Your Excellencies for setting aside time in your very busy calendars to honour the Africa Day event. This is a testimony of your commitment and inspiring leadership. Let me take this opportunity to also express gratitude to the Pan African Organisations that have always worked with the Commission to make this event a reality. Our appreciation equally goes to our partners who are always standing by our side.
4. Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, Countries in Africa continue to suffer from the adverse impacts of climate change with the costs of climate change threatening the realization of the Aspirations of Agenda 2063, “the Africa we want”. Climate change is also partially to blame for increased migration of African youths to Europe through the deadly Mediterranean Sea as it is shrinking livelihood opportunities. There is also a link between climate change and conflicts in Africa as demonstrated by ‘Boko Haram’’ insurgency in Western and Central Africa partly as a result of the shrinking of Lake Chad. The drivers of our vulnerability to climate change include heavy dependence on rain-fed agriculture, limited adaptive capacity and exposure to various climatic shocks. Reports indicate that African governments are already spending about 2% of their GDP on adaptation.
5. In response, African countries have demonstrated over the years and remain committed to tackling climate change and its impacts. This is evidenced by the fact that 49 African countries have ratified the Paris Agreement and they are currently implementing their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
6. However, despite the strong political commitment, most countries are facing difficulties in implementing their NDCs. Our expectation is that COP 24 will provide clarity on the delivery of support to developing countries to unlock action in the implementation of NDCs.
7. Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, This Years’ Africa Day theme “Operationalization of the Africa NDC Hub: Going further and faster with NDC implementation in support of Agenda 2063” aims to provide a platform for us to dialogue on the implementation of NDCs in Africa. Let us use this opportunity to strengthen partnerships and cooperation that would facilitate the implementation of NDCs by African Member States.
8. I wish to reaffirm the commitment of the African Union Commission under the leadership of the Chairperson of the Commission to work with all committed partners to support our member states and Regional Economic Communities in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and realization of our shared vision, Agenda 2063.
9. At the level of the Commission, we are working hard to strengthen our capacity to deliver on the expectations of our member states. The Commission is developing a programme for climate change with the support of the European Union and has also partnered with FAO to carryout some pilot work on NDC implementation in Africa. By next year, we shall also have a Continental Strategy on Climate Change.
10. As I conclude, I would like to thank all our partners here present that have worked around the clock to ensure a successful Africa Day event.
11. I wish you fruitful deliberations and I thank you all for your kind attention.
Obrigada, Chukran, Asanti Sana!