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Cementing Africa’s Leadership In The Fight Against Plastic Pollution, Climate Change And Biodiversity Loss As AMCEN Resumes

By Alice Ruhweza, WWF Africa Region Director and Laurent Some, WWF Africa Head of Policy and Partnerships

The resumed eighteenth session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) is taking place in Dakar, Senegal, from 12 to 16 September 2022 under the theme: "Securing people’s well-being and ensuring environmental sustainability in Africa”. 

This session is not an island. It comes just ahead of critical environmental policy processes – UNFCCC COP27 to take place in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, otherwise referred to as the African COP; the UNCBD COP 15 taking place in Montreal, Canada, later this year; and the first meeting of the Intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) to develop a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment that will take place in Uruguay from the 28 November to 2nd December 2022. This will be preceded by regional consultations on the 27th of November and the COP19 of CITES. 

A Landmark Agreement on Ending Plastic Pollution

The leadership of African governments, on a national level and collectively, contributed to the historic moment on 2 March 2022, at the resumed fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2), when the UN Member States unanimously adopted the resolution ‘End plastic pollution: Towards an international legally binding instrument. 
COP27 -  Towards a New Profile of Africa – From Climate Vulnerable To Climate-Resilient
This year’s COP27 taking place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, is an opportunity for Africa to clearly demonstrate its strong leadership in driving innovative and transformative actions at scale to address the climate crisis. Discussions at Africa Climate Week called for a shift from a focus on targets to implementation by mobilizing political will, financial resources and institutional responses to achieve sectoral transformations and strengthening coherent African responses to climate change.
COP 15 - Towards a New Global Goal for Biodiversity
The UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for world leaders to achieve not only a "Paris"-style framework for the protection of nature but to secure the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  For Africa, it is an opportunity for leaders to take the mantle and show the political will to reverse biodiversity loss toward a nature-positive world by 2030. Key amongst Africa’s priorities is ensuring Africa has the means to turn the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework into reality on the ground. 
Where To From Here?
The stakes for Africa are high. The time is now for African Ministers for the Environment to engage their respective governments to ramp up their national and regional efforts to address the plastic pollution problem with stakeholders across the plastics value chain throughout the negotiation period and beyond. In equal measure, the Ministers must call on Governments to halt and reverse nature loss and achieve a carbon neutral, nature-positive and equitable future for people and planet.
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