Key messages on Climate Change for AMCEN 2008

Submitted by Sukaina Bharwani | published 25th Mar 2011 | last updated 5th Jan 2023


The 12th session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) was held in Johannesburg on 7-12 June 2008.

UNEP asked SEI and the weADAPT Group to take the lead in a preparatory paper on climate adaptation in Africa for the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN). The paper drew on contributions from a large number of authors, in the same style of Lead and Contributing authors used by the IPCC. Two events were convened by AMCEN:

  • 8 June: An expert meeting on climate adaptation, mostly with participants nominated by governments. The output was a communication of key principles and recommendations for the Ministerial conference to consider.
  • 11 June: Ministerial session on adaptation. The session produced a statement to take forward from Africa to SBSTA/SBI and COP14 as an input into planning adaptation in Africa.

AMCEN Preparations

AMCEN Drafting process

This page contains was used to draft the AMCEN paper online with contributions from different authors. It is not the full version of the paperbut is being kept for archive purposes. The final paper and key messages can be found below.

AMCEN Paper and Key Messages

The key messages that came out of the scoping paper on climate change in Africa are:

Adaptation is a process, beginning with understanding current vulnerability, building capacity to support adaptation planning and implementation, learning from pilot actions and deploying strategies and measures to operationalise climate change adaptation in vulnerable regions, sectors and populations. The assessment of current, urgent vulnerabilities has established country-driven priorities that are sufficient to invest in building capacity and pilot actions.

Adaptation efforts, globally and in Africa, are already occurring: it is necessary to move from reactive adaptation to proactive policies, strategies and plans. Actions are required to learn what works under which conditions and/or circumstances; implementation of NAPA projects is essential, as are an increased coverage of types of projects and sectors.

Financial support for climate change adaptation in Africa has been growing, from the initial funds for Least Developed Countries (LDCF) to major investments planned by bilateral donors. Increasing contributions are expected from foundations and the private sector. The estimates of the cost of adaptation in Africa are no more than 'thought experiments', and further studies within Africa are required. However, it appears that the capacity to utilize additional funding on climate adaptation over the next few years is about the same order of magnitude as the funding available. However, to achieve successful 'climate protection' will require effective delivery of increased development funding and full implementation of disaster risk reduction strategies, as well as significant funding for the additional burdens of climate change.

The most urgent needs at present, with immediate benefits, are to rapidly build the adaptive capacity in existing institutions in Africa, to develop a professional body of practitioners, and to implement pilot actions in every country and vulnerable sector. The ability to plan sound projects and to learn from what works is limited by the lack of institutional and professional capacity. Taking advantage of synergies with other resource management and risk reduction efforts (e.g., water, land degradation, biodiversity, coastal zones, health and disasters) is imperative.

The full paper can be downloaded here

Relevant literature distributed at the AMCEN