Limoges, Limousin (F), 31 March 2009.
Decentralising and strengthening co-operation between the European regions and African territories can play a vital role in tackling climate change, a conference organised by the Assembly of European Regions (AER) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) heard today.
Hosted in Limoges by the AER member region 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 (see link below), adopted at the conference today, recognises the “profound consequences on human health and economic activities” of global warming, and 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’s territories, 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, as the partnership between the Limousin region and (the Republic of) Burkina Faso has demonstrated.
Quotes about the conference:
Michèle Sabban, AER president
I am especially pleased that our colleagues from Burkina Faso, Senegal, Morocco and Cameroon are taking part in this conference. AER’s member regions stand ready to share with African territories their knowledge, experience and good practice in climate change policy, and I am convinced that such decentralised, ground-up co-operation between our two continents can bring a huge contribution to the global fight against climate change.
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.
Jean-Paul Denanot, president, Limousin Regional Council
I want to underline the importance of diversity in a global issue such as climate change; the diversity of traditions, of approaches, of climates and territorial priorities, of developments and even of languages. This diversity makes our world richer; it also means that the public policy measures against climate change and commitment of global, European, national and regional authorities should be in synergy.
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 so many regions acting in 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 text of the Copenhagen agreement is a very rightful one.
Theodora Avgoulidou, advisor to the secretary-general, region of Central Macedonia (GR)
Success stories that have brought together regions from Europe to tackling major challenges can be transferred to third countries too. Co-ordinated action in water management, including the use of efficient and low-cost technologies as practiced at regional level in South-Eastern Europe through, for example, the Balkan Environment Centre, can provide a floor for integrated aquatic resources management globally.
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