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Africa's approach to climate change in the spotlight at forum of world experts

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Image of AfricaRich countries have a duty to support Africa as it adapts to climate change, the opening session of an international conference has heard.

Experts in development, climate change and human rights have come together for the Africa Climate Change Forum, hosted by the Government of Rwanda and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in Kigali, Rwanda

Photograph of Paul KagameOpening speakers at the forum included Howard Davies, director of LSE and His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, (pictured left) who spoke of the need for collaboration to address climate change globally:

'This challenge requires that we pool our efforts in order to anticipate and mitigate the effects of climate change globally, as well as on our continent, which is particularly vulnerable due to what I would call the vicious cycle of underdevelopment and environmental degradation.

Climate change can no longer be considered a field for scientists, experts and environmental activists alone - it is everybody's business. No individual, nation or region can afford to stand on the sidelines - we all must commit to a single purpose of mitigating environmental degradation within our means and capabilities,' he said.

In a video address, Professor Lord Stern of Brentford, IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government at LSE, (pictured below right) said that Africa is being hit earliest and hardest by climate change despite the fact that it produces a small fraction of the worlds emissions.

Photograph of Professor Lord Stern of BrentfordHe said: 'Greenhouse gas is probably about 70 per cent from rich countries, from 1 billion of the 6.7 billion people in the world. Africa has not caused this problem but the rest of the world has a real responsibility to help Africa respond. Yet the decisions (on adaptation) to help save Africa need to be African decisions.'

Over the two days more than 200 delegates at the forum will examine how climate change could reverse some of the development Africa has witnessed in recent years and how changing temperatures could prevent some people from accessing natural resources such as water and contribute to armed conflict.

Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Ireland, spoke of the need to forge a new movement - a global alliance for climate justice. Focusing on planning post-Koyoto, she said:

'Future framework must prioritize adaptation as much as mitigation. It must make the case effectively that climate change is as much a moral obligation as a pragmatic need for the richest countries which are most responsible for creating the problem and therefore must do more to assist poorer and more vulnerable nations in adapting to the inevitable impacts they will face in the near term....

'Human rights criteria - which we can think of as thresholds of minimum acceptability - provide a platform for broad-based dialogue on burden sharing of a kind that has frequently lacked in climate change debates.'

Journalists will discuss their role in the public debate on climate change: how they can help educate people about the changes they are witnessing and how to adapt.

Entrepreneurs will discuss opportunities for new business using technology and science to adapt to climate change.

Other speakers included the Rwandan Prime Minister Bernard Makuza;, Margaret Sekaggya, chair of the Uganda Human Rights Commission; Mr Graham Stegmann of the African Development Bank; and Grace Akumu, the outspoken Kenyan environmental leader of Climate Network Africa.

Ends

Cover of the LSE Africa brochureClick here for a copy of the LSE and Africa brochure, detailing the School's involvement with Africa and African issues.|

Notes

The Africa Climate Change Forum is on 10-11 September in Kigali, Republic of Rwanda.

For further information contact Felicity Jones in Kigali on +44 7515191843, Niamah McClean, forum manager at n.mcclean@lse.ac.uk|, the LSE Press Office on 020 7955 7060 or at pressoffice@lse.ac.uk|

Press cuttings

15.09.2008 05:01 ((All Africa))
Rwanda: President Hosts Top Climate Change Meet
President Paul Kagame yesterday morning opened the Africa Climate Change Forum, a high-level event held at Kigali Serena Hotel and organized by the London School of Economics (LSE) in partnership with the Government. Howard Davies, Director of the LSE, commended the President's interest in development issues and disclosed that the idea of the conference only emerged after Kagame's outstanding and rousing speech at the school last year.

12.09.2008 13:35 ((All Africa))
Rwanda: Climate Talks Devise New Deal
The search for precise global mechanisms to deal with the cause and effects of climate change was the great subject of the Africa Climate Change forum held at Serena Hotel, Kigali. Optioning the necessary resources to various sectors responsible to fight natural threats was what, Prof Eric Neumayer, from London School of Economics deemed to be vital.

All Africa 11.09.2008
Africa: Continent's Approach to Climate Change in the Spotlight at Forum of World Experts
Rich countries have a duty to support Africa as it adapts to climate change, the opening session of an international conference has heard. Opening speakers at the forum included His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, and LSE Director Howard Davies.

All Africa.com
Rwanda: President Hosts Top Climate Change Meet
President Paul Kagame yesterday morning opened the Africa Climate Change Forum, a high-level event held at Kigali Serena Hotel and organised by the London School of Economics (LSE) in partnership with the Government.

African Press Agency (11 September)
World climate experts in Rwanda to help find solutions for Africa
A two-day international forum on Africa climate change opened Wednesday in Kigali with world environmental experts, policy makers and economists in attendance. The theme of the conference: 'sustainable adaptation: development and human rights' will give the conferees the opportunity discuss Africa's adaptation to the impact of climate change. In his key note address, the director of London school of economics and political science, Sir Howard Davies said if nothing was done to mitigate or adapt to the climate change, "the poorest countries will be most affected and their chances for self improvement will also be damaged." 

10.09.2008 All Africa
Rwanda: Country for Global Climate Control Advocacy
The Minister of Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi, Monday revealed that Rwanda plans to be at the frontline of global advocacy for the adaptation of sustainable climate control. The government of Rwanda in collaboration with the London School of Economics and Political Science organised this conference that will bring together 200 delegates from all over the world.

11 September 2008

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