African Environment Ministers Vow to End Plastic Pollution, Open Dumping, and Waste Burning
54 African countries adopted resolutions and key messages to combat climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, and waste, including open dumping and trash burning elimination. The conference took place from 12 to 16 September 2022 in Dakar, Senegal.
H.E Abdou Karim Sall, President of AMCEN and Senegal's Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, emphasised that the session comes in the wake of regional health, food, energy, and financial crisis that adversely impact Africa, denoting urgency to the conference's theme of "securing people's well-being and ensuring environmental sustainability in Africa."
The ministers agreed to eliminate open dumping and trash burning in Africa and to promote waste as a resource for value and job creation. They urged development partners to assist African governments in better monitoring and reducing waste-related methane and black carbon emissions.
They also raised awareness of the risks that antimicrobial resistance poses to human health and sustainable development in Africa. They also called for urgent and collective action to prevent and minimise the adverse impacts of antimicrobial resistance.
The President of the Sixth UN Environment Assembly, Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development of Morocco, H.E Laila Benali, said:
"We recognise the crucial role that AMCEN is playing in leading and advocating for Africa's positions and interests in the areas of environment and sustainable development, at all levels, including through its active involvement in global negotiations on Multilateral Environment Agreements. We need to strengthen the role of AMCEN as a platform for implementation.”
John Kerry, the United States special presidential envoy for climate, who participated in the conference, said:
“It is an honour to join this year’s AMCEN, where I hope to offer a few thoughts, but mostly hear from you… our challenge is too big for any one nation – or group of nations – to solve alone. We need to work together – as the private sector, civil society, governments, and tribal and indigenous groups, to win the battle here. Partnerships will be key in Africa and beyond.”
Ministers also committed to making the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment stronger and more effective, particularly by boosting coordination with African Finance and Economic Planning Ministers.
Ligia Noronha, UN Assistant Secretary-General representing the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said:
"Decisions by AMCEN have provided a map the continent can now use to chart a new course, one that boosts human well-being and ensures environmental sustainability for generations to come. The time has now come for African nations to use this map by implementing the decisions this body has made. It is time to transform AMCEN from a decision-making body into a platform for action and implementation.”
On the UN Biological Diversity Conference (UNCBD-COP15) to be held from 7 to 17 December 2022 in Montreal, Canada, Ministers reiterate that the post-2020 global biodiversity framework must include a solution for sharing the benefits arising from the use of digital sequence information on genetic resources. Ministers underlined the need to close the financial gap to ensure the implementation of the goals and targets of the framework and called for the establishment of a global biodiversity fund.