Intergovernmental action on climate change


UNESCO, Nairobi, Kenya

The African Union, the African Ministerial Council on the Environment and Africa’s regional bodies all have activities related to climate change. 

In 2007 African heads of state adopted the African Union’s Declaration on Climate Change and Development in Africa. It called for member states to ratify the Kyoto Protocol; participate in the UNFCCC; build capacity and invest in data collection and early-warning systems; integrate adaptation strategies into country policies; raise awareness; strengthen cooperation between national meteorological offices, hydrological centres and regional economic communities (RECs); strengthen research, especially in renewables, forestry and agriculture to increase resilience; transfer technologies; put pressure on developed countries on the ‘polluter pays’ principle to seek deeper greenhouse gas emission cuts. It tasked the AU Commission to follow up with the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Development Bank (ADB). 

The East African Community’s climate change policy was developed following a regional heads of state directive in 2009. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) policy for disaster risk reduction was adopted at a summit in 2007. In 2013, ECOWAS became the first of Africa’s five Regional Economic Communities to develop a strategic programme to address vulnerability to climate change. SADC has a Climate Change Cross-sectoral Working Group, and launched its Adaptation Strategy on Water in 2011. COMESA has a Climate Initiative and a Carbon Fund.

A number of decisions and actions have been taken since 2007 through the AU (including heads of state) and the AMCEN to establish joint positions in international negotiations and to set up institutions, including the Climate for Development in Africa programme (Climdev-Africa) to improve information and the African Climate Policy Centre to support knowledge and capacity.