Today is Africa Day in Warsaw as climate talks enter high gear

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Warsaw, Poland, 19 November 2013 (ECA) – All eyes will be on Africa today in Warsaw, as it’s leaders, scientists and intellectuals meet for the Africa Day event which has become the high point of the continent’s participation at COP events.

The event will hold under the theme Climate Change and Agricultural Development in Africa and is planned to bring together some of the best minds on the continent to discuss a sector that is so vital for Africa but one that has been worst hit by the impacts of climate change – agriculture.

Organized by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), the event will be an opportunity not just to rally Africans present in Warsaw but also development partners and negotiators from other regions of the world.

According to Mr. Emmanuel Dlamini, President of the African Group of Negotiators, the full significance for the theme chosen for the Day lies in the fact that most of African agriculture is rain-fed, while droughts and floods have become more frequent, more intense and more unpredictable as a result of climate change – rendering life of millions of people very miserable.
Apart from discussions to highlight Africa’s contributions towards coping strategies in the face of climate change, participants and discussants plan to send a powerful message to the world about the need for developed countries to make good their promises on financial contributions towards adaptation and technology transfer.
It will also be an opportunity for Africa’s political leadership to take gauge the level of negotiations on each of the sticking points as work intensifies on the final documents of COP19.
This will then give negotiators a sense of where to lay emphasis on climate finance issues, for example.
The programme of the Africa Day event will begin with three opening remarks. The first will come from Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini -Zuma, President of the African Union Commission; followed by Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania and Chair of African Heads of State Committee on Climate Change. Ato Haile-Mariam Dessalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia and current Chairman of the African Union, will officially launch the event.
Then will follow a high-level panel discussion on the Day’s theme facilitated by Dr. Fatima Denton, Coordinator of the African Policy Centre and Officer in Charge of New Initiatives Division at ECA. Speakers will talk on Agriculture in the Climate Change Negotiation by Mr. Fred Kossan; Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation in to the African Agricultural Development Agenda by Dr. Ayalneh Bogale; Innovative Research and Technologies for Adaptation to Climate Change in African Agriculture by Dr Tom Owiyo; and Options for Financing Climate Change Adaptation in African Agriculture by Dr. Anthony Nyong.

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