The African Development Bank and several United Nations agencies – the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa, the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) – join forces to advance climate action in Central Africa. This region is highly strategic in the fight against climate change as it is home to the Congo Basin rainforest, the second largest rainforest on the planet and the only remaining net carbon sink on earth.
These organizations expressed their desire to strengthen their partnership during a meeting on September 1 in Libreville, on the sidelines of African Climate Week 2022. The Week was held from August 29 to September 2 on the theme: “Roles of the Congo Basin rainforest, biosphere reserves and World Heritage sites in climate change resilience and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Central Africa”.
A few weeks before the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Egypt in November 2022, the Bank and its partner United Nations agencies are focusing on strengthening dialogue with various institutions to make advancing climate action, ensuring the preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity, combating social inequalities and investing in development beneficial to humanity and the environment.
“This close cooperation between partners is crucial to help Central African countries achieve their climate ambitions,” said the Bank’s resident representative in Gabon, Nouridine Kane Dia.
The African Development Bank supports Central Africa’s efforts to promote sustainable development and resilience to climate change, particularly in the Congo Basin, Dia said.
Since 2008, the Bank has financed the Support Program for the Conservation of Congo Basin Ecosystems to the tune of 45.7 million euros. Since 2018, it has also been deploying the Lake Chad Biosphere and Heritage project, which is the subject of exemplary cooperation with UNESCO. The project covers five countries, including three in Central Africa (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad), which it supports in the creation of three biosphere reserves and the filing of a proposal for a cross-border World Heritage site.
UNESCO and the Bank are also collaborating to establish an African Biosphere Reserve Fund (AFRIBIOFUND) to support African States in implementing the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the strategic concept of Agenda 2063 for the African Union for socio-economic transformation.
Dia praised the excellent collaboration between the Bank and the United Nations system, in particular UNESCO. “I am sure that this partnership will be strengthened in the years to come and we will be able to highlight its remarkable results”, he added.
Savina Ammassari, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Gabon, said: “Challenges related to the lack of financial resources – which were raised during this African Climate Week – must be resolved to strengthen actions related to adaptation and mitigation of the effects of climate change.”
She affirmed that UNESCO, in close collaboration with the African Development Bank, the United Nations Office in Central Africa and UNODC, is committed to advancing climate action in Central Africa and reducing vulnerability. to climate change. She also called for stronger partnerships and international support for climate finance.
The discussions were moderated by Bandiougou Diawara, regional adviser for the natural sciences sector at UNESCO; Bamba Diop, environmental expert at the Bank; Megumi Yoshil, Political Advisor at the United Nations Office in Central Africa, and Assane Dramé, Regional Program Coordinator at UNODC. It was an opportunity to highlight strategic approaches designed for sustainable climate and biodiversity finance to increase the resilience of ecosystems and mitigate the effects of climate change, using legal and judicial responses to the corruption and environmental crimes.
UNESCO sites (World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves and Global Geoparks), currently numbering 2,058, cover 6% of the planet’s surface and are essential laboratories in the fight against climate change, said Bandiougou Diawara.
“These sites provide local solutions to global challenges. Each of them promotes solutions that reconcile nature conservation and sustainable use.” Diawara added.