The Africa's biodiversity is facing many threats from habitat loss through conversion of natural biodiversity habitats to urban, industrial or agricultural uses; over-harvesting due to increasing population and rising consumption levels; pollution from farming, urban household and industrial sources; and the introduction of alien invasive species which dominate or modify habitat conditions. Pressure from these sources is likely to intensify because of the increasing population, widespread poverty and dependence on natural resources. Nevertheless, African states continue to encounter significant challenges in developing national environmental governance frameworks that can respond effectively to the environmental threats.
The ACP MEAs Programme activities are designed to address the environmental challenges such as Biodiversity losses, Chemicals and waste mismanagement and Oceans and Seas governance facing Africa. The activities are being implemented in collaboration with the African Hub (African Union Commission-AUC) and the European Environmental Bureau’s zero mercury initiative (EEB/ZMWG) in the biodiversity and chemicals and waste MEAs clusters and the Nairobi and Abidjan Conventions in the Oceans governance cluster. Forty-Eight (48) African ACP countries including; Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Brazzaville), DR Congo, Cote D’Ivoire, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are the beneficiaries of the programme.
African Hub (AUC)
The African Hub is hosted by the African Union Commission (AUC). The AUC is the principal organization in Africa for the promotion of accelerated socio-economic integration of the continent to achieve sustainable development. It is ideally suited to support the mission of the African Hub since it is mandated to promote regional cooperation on environmental management and cooperation. The AUC also holds strong ties with UNEP and other regional environmental institutions in Africa. The primary target beneficiaries are the government officials of the 48 African ACP countries. National stakeholders such as civil society organizations and the private sector are also involves. The overall objective of the African Hub is to strengthen and enhance the capacity of African ACP countries to comply with and effectively enforce the implementation of MEAs at local, national and regional levels. This will lead to sound environmental and natural resource management and contribute towards the effective implementation of strategies for sustainable development and poverty eradication in Africa.
The specific objective of the African Hub is to strengthen the capacities of:
- The Commission of the African Union
- The Regional Economic Communities
- African ACP countries to effectively enforce and comply with global and regional environmental agreements.
This will be approached in a coordinated and comprehensive manner by focusing on national coordination mechanisms, mainstreaming environment to enhance compliance and enforcement of MEAs and information dissemination and exchange through the promotion of South-South cooperation between the Hub and the other two Regional Hubs in the Caribbean and the Pacific. Read more
The Abidjan Convention is a cooperation in the protection, management and development of the marine and coastal environment of the Atlantic coast of the West, Central and Southern Africa region that covers marine area from Mauritania to South Africa. The Convention and its protocols are the regional platforms and legal frameworks for the activities within its three large marine ecosystems (LME), namely:
- The Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME),
- Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem (GCLME)
- Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME), concerning the coastal and marine environment.
These ecosystems make the Abidjan Convention Secretariat a strong contributor to better governance efforts and to build institutional capacity that effectively implement the selected environmental treaties.
The partnership builds on the instruments developed by Parties to the Abidjan Convention to promote the effective implementation of their commitments taken under the convention. This will be achieved through improved compliance with and enforcement of key policies and legislations by the parties; specific protocols and mechanisms that facilitate the sharing of information and experiences; and the provision of sound environmental data and tools to policy makers. Sharing of experiences at the national, regional and sub-regional levels, including with regional fisheries bodies and encouragement of Transatlantique and South-South cooperation is also being promoted.Read more
The Nairobi Convention was inaugurated in 1985 and entered into force in 1996, as part of UNEP’s Regional Seas Programme. The programme aims to address the accelerating degradation of the world’s oceans and coastal areas through the sustainable management and use of the marine and coastal environment. It does this by engaging countries that share the western Indian Ocean in actions to protect their shared marine environment.
The Convention has carried out many important tasks over the years, by establishing key partnerships with governmental and NGOs and keeping coastal and marine environment issues on the policy agenda. It is notable that the Nairobi Convention remains the preferred implementation platform for major activities in the WIO region given that, it has successfully managed to bring together the countries of the region to address common priorities through a legally binding mechanism with the aim of achieving long term sustainable measures. It has prioritised environmental management through a new Protocol on the transboundary issues of climate change, marine and land-based pollution, and integrated coastal zone management (ICZM).
In the ACP-MEA programme, the Nairobi Convention focuses on strengthening ocean governance and blue economy strategies by:
- Seeking the implementation of the regional Action Plan on marine litter
- The development and implementation of national marine litter action plans,
- Harmonization of policies, laws, regulations, institutional capacity and
- Management reforms to combat pollution and other threats to ocean biodiversity. Read more
EEB/ZMWG is a collaboration between the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and the Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG). EEB, located in Brussels, Belgium, is the largest network with over 140 environmental citizens’ organisations and more than 35 European countries. These organisations include local, national and international. Created in 1974, EEB act as a focal point for its member organizations to monitor and respond to the EU’s environmental policies. EEB is the environmental voice of European citizens, standing for environmental justice, sustainable development and participatory democracy. ZMWG is an international coalition of more than 110 public interest environmental and health non-governmental organizations from over 55 countries around the world.
The coalition was formed in 2005 by the European Environmental Bureau and the Mercury Policy Project to address global environmental challenges. ZMWG strives for zero supply, demand, and emissions of mercury from all anthropogenic sources. Its goal is to reduce mercury in the global environment to a minimum.
EEB/ZMWG is the civil society partner for the ACPMEAs Programme responsible for the provision of technical assistance to African ACP countries on the formulation of specific strategies to address mercury-added products phasing-out provisions of the Minamata Convention. It will also assist ACP countries in increasing ratification and implementation of the Minamata Convention. Read more