The sixth special session for the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) kicked off Saturday in Cairo and is expected to last for until Tuesday.
The annual conference, sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), was also held in Cairo last year in March 2015.
This year’s session comes following the adaption of a historic agreement on climate change in December 2015 during the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations (COP21) and adaption of the UN’s new sustainable development goals (SDGs) in September 2015 for the next 15 years, which included climate change as one of the main goals.
Egypt’s minister of environment and president of AMCEN, Khaled Fahmy, said the conference will discuss the 2030 SDGs and follow up on the agreements made during the COP21 conference in Paris. Moreover, it will discuss the developments in the agreements signed by African countries on renewable energy and the framework convention on climate change and its implications for Africa.
The theme of the sixth session is: “Agenda 2030 and Paris Agreement: From policy to implementation in Africa”.
The session is also lays the ground for African countries leaders to reach a common consensus ahead of the second United Nations Environment Assembly which will be held in Nairobi, Kenya between 23 and 27 May.
Among the topics included in the AMCEN agenda are the African common strategy on combating illegal trade of wild fauna and flora and implementation of the regional flagship programmes, according to the UNEP.
Greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are driving climate change and continue to rise. They are currently at their highest levels in history. According to the UN fact sheet on SDGs, global emissions of carbon dioxide have increased by almost 50% since 1990.
Egypt convened the very first AMCEN meeting in Cairo 30 years ago. It is the main environmental decision-making body in Africa, holding two sessions every two or three years.