The Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security participated in the 2021 World Habitat Day Celebration, which was held in hybrid format
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia: Every October, UN-Habitat and partners organize a month of activities, events and discussions on urban sustainability. This year, Urban October opened with World Habitat Day on 4th October.
The theme for this year, ”Accelerating urban action for a carbon-free world” highlights how cities and towns are at the core of climate action to keep the 1.5 degrees goal within reach. According to the United Nations report, cities are responsible for some 70% of global carbon dioxide emissions with transport, buildings, energy, and waste management accounting for the bulk of urban greenhouse gas emissions.
The Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security participated in the 2021 World Habitat Day Celebration, which was held in hybrid format, i.e. in person and virtually, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The continental commemoration was attended by ministers and heads of delegations from Africa Public Service Day (APSD) champions among AU Member States, African Union Commission, academia and media, among others.
H.E. Amb. Bankole Adeoye, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the African Union Commission, in his statement, said that the theme chosen for the celebration of the Habitat Day of this year 2021 in Yaoundé is in sync with the very strong alert given by the experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the climate emergency. The Commissioner noted that although Africa has not contributed to the current situation, it is nevertheless experiencing serious consequences of climate change.
Amb. Bankole Adeoye further stated that as UN scientists have shown, millions of Africans have already experienced unprecedented heat waves, extreme precipitation events, and rising sea level-changes that affect livelihoods, exacerbate food insecurity, intensify competition for resources, deplete water supplies, and accelerate migration. He then gave Cyclone Idai and Kenneth as examples.
The Commissioner highlighted key actions undertaken by the AU under the auspices of the Commission:
- The mobilization of the African Union at the highest level on these issues through the African Heads of State Committee on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) and at ministerial level through the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN);
- The approach to work on climate issues by major geo-climatic basins in order to better contextualize climate issues according to the dynamics of settlement and ecosystem evolution, and to better calibrate the responses to be provided in the face of the challenges, namely: the Congo Basin; the Sahel; the Mediterranean region; and the Ocean basin.
- Three (3) commissions regrouping African countries following the geo climatic logic were set up in Marrakech, Morocco in November 2016: the Congo Basin Commission, the Sahel Commission, and the Indian Ocean Island Countries Commission.
- The Virtual capacity building seminars provided to AU Member States on the implementation of the African Regional Implementation Framework for the New Urban Agenda in Africa, which gives emphasis on the role of local and regional authorities in the development of greenhouse gas reduction plans in African urban centers
- The creation of a joint Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) and the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Environmental Sustainability (ARBE) Climate and Security Working Group.
- The 31st Virtual Ordinary Meeting of the Bureau of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), held on 7th June 2021, recognized that COP26 will provide an opportunity for African countries to increase their ambition in the fight against climate change and encouraged the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change to continue to advocate for the continent.
The World Habitat Day is also marked by social events and exhibition of showcase by the Government of Cameroon.