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ECA and UNEP to collaborate on the economic costs of climate change in Africa

Addis Ababa, 23 July 2007 — The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today in Addis Ababa agreed to deepen their collaboration by working together on various environment-related issues in Africa, including the economic costs of climate change and how to finance the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The heads of the two organizations, Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Secretary of ECA and Mr. Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP, also agreed to revise their existing Memorandum of Understanding to cover mutual areas of interests, including environmental statistics, the economics of adaptation, geographical information service and sustainable production and consumption.

Mr. Steiner, who became the head of UNEP in June 2006, visited Addis Ababa to hold talks with leaders of UN agencies and the Chairperson of the African Union, Prof Alpha Konare. He said he would like ECA and UNEP to pay more attention on the linkages between economics and the environment, adding, “In many respects, the environment is still seen as a tax on development, instead of an investment”.

Pledging ECA’s support, Mr. Janneh said African Ministers of Finance had already pronounced themselves on the issues of climate change and that the work of UNEP could help clarify many thorny questions that the ministers may have.

He called on UNEP to play more active role in the UN regional consultation mechanism in support of African Union and its NEPAD program.