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African mayors at Climate Congress urge nations to make equitable global deal at COP 17

by Martin Pollack
on 04 Mar 2011
City of Cape Town
City of Cape Town

A declaration by African local governments calling on nations to deliver an equitable and comprehensive global deal at the United Nations climate talks to be held in Durban later this year, came out of the Local Climate Solutions (LOCS) 2011 Congress this week.

The African Mayors' Climate Change Declaration urges nations to recognise Africa's local governments as pivotal partners in implementing climate change action and to build and develop a just and pro-poor framing of the global response to climate change.

This declaration will be delivered to the high level segment of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties 17 (UNFCCC COP17) to be held in Durban at the end of the year, by the host Mayor.

The City of Cape Town's contribution to the Declaration was co-ordinated by Alderman Marianne Nieuwoudt, Mayoral Committee Member for Environment, Strategy and Planning, and Chair of the Energy Committee.

"Concluding the declaration was an exciting experience, and we are rightly proud of our accomplishment," she said giving credit, too, to ICLEI Africa's Kobie Brand, who put together the inputs of almost 400 delegates from 50 local governments and 25 African countries.
"The declaration comes from a strongly committed group of people who are determined to take practical action. We want the rest of the world to recognise that although we are not the greatest contributors to climate change, we are committed to taking responsibility for the contribution we do make, and do something about it."

The African continent is likely to bear the brunt of climate change impact, with drought, food scarcity, spread of infectious disease, mass human migrations and risk of conflict.

Africa's approach is refreshing and laudable, said ICLEI Secretary General, Konrad Otto-Zimmermann. "This sends a strong message to the bigger nations, such as the US and China it undermines their game of avoiding responsibility and blaming each other for being a bigger polluter and carbon emitter."

"Africa, although the most vulnerable and the least culpable, is making a commitment to a lower-carbon development future."

The LOCS2011 Congress was coordinated by ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, an international organization with more than 1 200 local government members, in partnership with the City of Cape Town.

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