Pillar 4: Environmental sustainability natural resources management and disaster risk management

Extracted from: Common African Position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

50. CONCERNED that the exploitation of Africa’s natural resources and biodiversity base is not fully translating into value-adding activities, adequate employment opportunities, and enhanced economic returns for the continent;

51. CONSCIOUS that many of these resources are non-renewable and DETERM INED to ensure profitability, intergenerational equity and sustainability in their use;

52. MINDFUL of the importance of ensuring the availability of safe water supply for all and closing the sanitation gap, and CONCERNED about the challenges posed by climate change, desertification and land degradation, natural disasters such as drought and floods, loss of biodiversity, management of waste and chemicals, coastal erosion, marine pollution and rising sea levels that threaten the existence of coastal mega-deltas and Small Island Developing States;

53. DETERMINED to address the potential adverse effects of these challenges on Africa’s transformative agenda and COGNIZANT of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities in addressing the challenges of natural resource management and biodiversity, we COMMIT to:

(a) Improving natural resource and biodiversity management

54. A chieving this objective will require:

  1. Promoting sustainable utilization of the continent’s natural resources and biodiversity, including land and water for the continent’s economic and social transformation. This can be achieved by combating the depletion and degradation of Africa’s natural resource base and fostering the conservation and recovery of African biodiversity, which represents an inestimable heritage, through improved control of access to the genetic resources of the continent;
  2. Ensuring that the use of the natural resources and biodiversity will financially and economically benefit the countries that possess them and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from their use, with consideration for both present and future generations; and
  3. Promoting value addition, pertinent R&D, and technological innovations for sustainably harnessing the natural resource base and biodiversity by developing joint ventures and private- publicpartnerships to facilitate the establishment of industries in Africa.

(b) Enhancing access to Safe Water for All

55. To this end, we will ensure universal and reliable access to safe water in a sustainable manner, especially access to safe drinking water in urban and rural areas by: enhancing the protection and judicious management of water resources to safeguard water quality, and assurance of access to these resources for all uses; ensuring effective conservation and management of catchments areas; minimizing wastewater discharges; and improving wastewater and water quality management systems as well as sanitation and hygiene services in rural and urban areas.

(c) Responding effectively to climate change

56. While Africa is not responsible for the pollution and the factors causing climate change, it stands to suffer the most, the African leadership is poised to cooperate fully along the lines of the Rio+20 outcome.

57. We will reduce deforestation, desertification and pollution, promote reforestation and reduce soil erosion; improve land management; promote renewable energies; promote efficiency of energy production, consumption and recycle; and effectively implement the Kyoto Protocol.

58. Recognizing that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our times, we emphasize our deep concern with the vulnerability of developing countries, in particular in Africa, to the adverse impacts of climate change, and also recognize that adaptation to the phenomenon represents an immediate and urgent global priority.

59. We urge developed country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC ) to fully implement their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol in order to bridge the gap between the aggregate efforts of mitigation pledges and aggregate emission pathways consistent with having a likely change of holding global average temperature rise below 2 degrees or 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

60. We call upon developed countries to provide sufficient and predictable financing to developing countries, mainly through effective use of the Green Climate Fund with US$100 billion per year by 2020, as well as the transfer of technologies and capacity building in accordance with the relevant decisions adopted in Cancun.

(d) Addressing desertification, land degradation, soil erosion, flooding and drought

61. We are conscious that desertification, land degradation, soil erosion, flooding and drought are challenges of a global dimension and continue to pose a serious threat to the sustainable development of all countries, in particular in Africa, as recognized in the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD ).

62. There is an urgent need to reverse land degradation, soil erosion and desertification. This should act as a catalyst for adequate support, including by mobilizing predictable, appropriate and timely financial resources in order to enable developing countries especially in Africa to face these challenges.

(e) Natural disaster risk reduction and management

63. We must strengthen Africa’s resilience to natural disasters by: building capacities for adequately anticipating and responding to disasters and reducing their impact on people living in vulnerable situations; implementing the African Solidarity Initiative, which targets countries in difficult situations; developing and supporting early warning systems; and increasing support for loss and damage incurred through climate disasters.