European and African regions commit to strengthening co-operation on climate change
- 01 April 2009
Decentralising and strengthening co-operation between the European and African regions can play a vital role in tackling climate change. This was the main message from the conference organised by the Assembly of European Regions (AER) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on 31st of March.
Hosted in Limoges by the region of Limousin (F), the two-day conference brought European regional politicians together with their regional and state-level counterparts from Burkina Faso, Senegal, Morocco and Cameroon, along with civil society representatives, experts and academics from across Europe and Africa.
The Limoges Declaration, adopted at the conference, calls on all levels of government, NGOs, the private sector, social movements and international bodies to take a more "holistic approach" to climate change in the form of decentralised and strengthened co-operation.
The declaration further calls on the European regions to support sustainable development initiatives in Africa, especially in the promotion of energy efficiency, alternative fuel sources and the use of clean technologies. A number of European regions are already supporting such initiatives with growing success.
The Climate Group presented it's States and Regions Alliance work to the plenary and explained how the Poznan summit tied together the different efforts from the St-Malo Worldsummit of Regions and the California Summit last year. Luc Bas underlined that, next to the EU-regions of the Alliance, also North-American and Australian States and Provinces are looking into cooperation with UNDP to support developing country regions.
Quotes from the conference:
Cécile Molinier, director, UNDP office in Geneva
Regional authorities play a crucial role in the implementation of climate change adaptation measures in areas such as agriculture, infrastructure planning, training and water resource management. And, due to their close outreach at local levels and to civic society, the regions can encourage public consensus by raising citizen awareness and integrating the poorest populations in climate change and related policies.
Blaise Compaore, president, Burkina Faso
My participation in this conference shows the personal interest I have in addressing environmental challenges. In my country, the emerging concept of eco-citizenship and environmental education has really raised awareness within the population, especially among young people.
Luc Bas, Head of government relations, Europe, The Climate Group
It is impressive to see all these regions acting on the fight against climate change in Europe and especially to see them connect directly with their counterparts in developing countries. This shows that the claim for recognition as an important partner in the Copenhagen agreement is a very rightful one of which The Climate Group is supportive.