Sunday, 21 October 2012


The African Development Forum (ADF), an Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) flagship biennial event created in 1999, is a multi-stakeholder platform for debating, discussing and initiating concrete strategies for Africa's development. It is convened in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), African Development Bank (AfDB) and other key partners to establish an African-driven development agenda that reflects consensus and leads to specific programmes for implementation. The aim of ADF is to present the key stakeholders in Africa’s development with the results of current research and opinions on key development issues in order to formulate shared goals, priorities and programmes, and define the environment that will enable African countries to implement these programmes.
The Forum brings together a large number of participants including Heads of State and Government, African member State policymakers, development partners, other United Nations agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations (IGOs/NGOs), academia, practitioners, civil society organizations (CSOs), the private sector, eminent policy and opinion leaders and other concerned stakeholders. The Forum includes plenary and high-level parallel panel sessions as well as side-events featuring keynote/lead speakers and presenters, media representatives and other participants.
The theme of ADF-VIII is Governing and harnessing natural resources for Africa’s development”. This theme could not have been placed on the ADF agenda at a more appropriate time. It builds on the outcome of the Fifth Session of the Joint AUC-ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development held in March 2012 in Addis Ababa under the theme “Unleashing Africa’s potential as a pole of global growth”. The Conference endorsed the decision to focus the theme of ADF-VIII on “Governing and harnessing natural resources for Africa’s development”. The platform offers as much an opportunity to build partnerships as for the occasion to further deepen discussions on implementation of: the Africa Mining Vision (AMV); the AU Declaration on Land; the Framework and Guidelines for Land Policy in Africa (F&G); the Implementation Strategy for the Accelerated Industrialization Development for Africa (AIDA); Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests; and other frameworks for best practices in the management of mineral, land, fisheries and forest resources.
ADF-VIII will therefore underscore the importance of natural resources governance in the social and economic transformation processes in Africa to foster growth and poverty reduction. It will also emphasize the social, economic and environmental pillars associated with natural resources management, as well as institutional and policy frameworks within which natural resources can be effectively harnessed to meet development goals. Sharing best practices, innovative policies, operational frameworks, evidence-based knowledge and information and participatory arrangements for effective resource harnessing will be the focus of the Forum in 2012, along with showcasing appropriate institutional and governance frameworks for leveraging natural resources for Africa’s development.

Globally, the scramble for access to and development of natural resources has intensified, partly due to the rising demand for natural resources from emerging economies. This trend has reflected on commodity prices, which are at historic highs, and on the terms of trade, altered in favour of commodities. The continent is caught in what some have termed ‘the second scramble for Africa.’ However, a historic opportunity has also opened up for Africa to effectively utilize its natural resources to fuel economic development. This opportunity is enhanced by positive developments on the continent, including governance gains, greater policy space, increased interest in exploring better platforms for development and raised aspirations among the citizenry for a better future. This is therefore an opportune time to deliberate on the roles and strategic importance of natural resources in Africa’s transformation.

 ADF-VIII will focus on mineral, land, forest and fishery resources, and the potential roles these resources play in the transformation of the continent. Despite their importance, water resources will not be an item on the ADF-VIII agenda for a number of reasons. First, water in itself is such a broad and major issue that sufficient discussion on it would require sessions equivalent to the ADF itself. Second, inclusion of water as a specific resource for discussion during ADF-VIII would overshadow in-depth discussion and debate on the other resources. As a result, the crucial issue of water is left to be explored in full in future ADFs. Notwithstanding, as a crosscutting issue for integrated natural resources management, discussions on water will permeate the entire Forum.

ECA boss wants actionable points to guide African policy makers on negotiations, development pathways

ECA Press Release 169/2012

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia 20 October 2012 (ECA) – The United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of ECA, Dr. Carlos Lopes, has urged participants attending the  Second conference on climate change and development in Africa to come up with actionable points to guide African policy makers on at least two of the pressing issues that Africa faces  with  regards the phenomenon.

Dr. Lopes who was addressing the opening session of the second edition of the annual conference acknowledged the complex nature of the task before some 250 decision-makers, policy analysts, academicians, development practitioners, civil society activists and communications specialist attending the conference.

“The task before us is complex. The time-scale for action is urgent and the requirements for mitigation and adaptation are daunting”, he said.  

He challenged the participants to come out with clear guidelines on how African countries can chart clear policy and development pathways that are climate resilient and of low carbon intensity, particularly in energy, agriculture and water. The next area that deserves urgent attention, he said, is the ongoing round of negotiations on climate change.

“Africa’s position in the forthcoming climate change negotiations (in Doha this December) has to be well prepared so as to obtain its unchanging objectives of obtaining access to more finance, appropriate technology, and capacity development needs”, Dr. Lopes  said.

The high-profile opening session of the conference was attended by H.E. Ato Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; Dr. Maxwell Mkwezalamba, AU Commissioner of Economic Affairs; Mr. Jeremiah Lengoasa, Deputy Secretary General of the World Metrological Organization (WMO) as well as by Mr. Lamin Barrow, Resident Representative of the African Development Bank in Ethiopia, who each delivered opening remarks.

Dr. Lopes heartily welcomed Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn who was arriving at ECA for the first time since assuming office, following the death of his predecessor, the late Mr Meles Zenawi.

Dedicating CCDA-II to the memory of late P.M. Zenawi, the ECA chief executive paid resounding tribute to his contributions and personal the efforts he deployed towards the crystallization of an African Common Position on climate change negotiations in the run up to the Conference of the Parties (COP-17) in Copenhagen.

He said that the theme of CCDA-II ‘Advancing Knowledge, Policy and Practice on Climate Change ad Development’ is intended to underscore the fact that “we need knowledge which is informed by practice to design policies that will promote development in the face of climate change”.  

“The knowledge that we gather, and the way we seek to improve practice in various sectors must help guide the policy process, at both national and international levels”, he said, underlining the fact that there are important domestic implications that would arise from the on-going United Nations Climate Change and Development Conference.

Also addressing the conference, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said that Ethiopia’s commitment to address climate change impacts is based on the geography and the recent history of his country.

These, he said, had combined to make them fully aware of the consequences of the vagaries of the weather and the variability of climate. Ethiopia is one of the countries in Africa that has been worst hit by climate change I terms of draughts, floods and even loss of human life.

He also recalled the central role that the late Prime Minister Meles played, both as Africa’s spokesperson on climate change and an advocate for sustainable development. He thanked Dr. Lopes for dedicating CCDA-II to the memory of the late Prime Minister Meles.  

Earlier, Dr. Maxwell Mkwezalamba, lauded the collaboration that exists between the ECA, AUC and the African Development in development issues in Africa. He thyen went ahead to elaborate on the African Union desertification Programme.

Mr. Lamin Barrow, Resident Representative of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Ethiopia welcomed participants and expressed satisfaction at the fact that “climate change is gaining its rightful place in the policy discourse on sustainable development in Africa”.

He said that Africa bears the brunt of climate change impacts which currently costs the continent an estimated at $40 billion every year, which translates to about 3% of the continent’s GDP.

“Climate change also casts a long shadow on Africa’s development aspirations, including prospects for achieving the Millennium Development Goals” he said,  adding that the African Development Bank’s response to climate change is focused on assisting Regional Member Countries address its impacts, and building the resilience of communities through appropriate adaptation and mitigation actions