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African Environment Ministers vow to end plastic pollution, eliminate open dumping and burning of waste, address antimicrobial resistance

The resumed 18th session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) closed with environment ministers from 54 African countries adopting a series of decisions and key messages to tackle climate change, the loss of nature, pollution and waste, including the elimination of open dumping and burning of waste. The conference took place from 12 to 16 September 2022 in Dakar, Senegal.

The President of AMCEN and Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development of Senegal, H.E Abdou Karim Sall, emphasised that the session comes in the wake of a regional health, food, energy and financial crisis that particularly impacts Africa, denoting urgency to the conference’s theme of “securing people’s well-being and ensuring environmental sustainability in Africa.”

On pollution, ministers committed to:

  • eliminate open dumping and burning of waste in Africa and to promote use of waste as a resource for value and job creation. They called on development partners to support African countries to better monitor and reduce methane and black carbon emissions associated with waste.
  • improve awareness on the risks that antimicrobial resistance poses to human health and sustainable development in Africa. They also called for urgent and collective action to prevent and minimise adverse impacts of antimicrobial resistance.

The President of the Sixth UN Environment Assembly, Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development of Morocco, H.E Laila Benali said:” we recognise the crucial role that AMCEN is playing in leading and advocating for Africa’s positions and interests in the areas of environment and sustainable development, at all levels including through its active involvement in global negotiations on Multilateral Environment Agreements. We need to strengthen the role of AMCEN as a platform for implementation.”

John Kerry, the United States special presidential envoy for climate, who participated in the conference said: “It is an honour to join this year’s AMCEN, where I hope to offer a few thoughts, but mostly hear from you… our challenge is too big for any one nation – or group of nations – to solve alone. We need to work together – as the private sector, civil society, governments, and tribal and indigenous groups, to win the battle here. Partnerships will be key in Africa and beyond.”

Ministers also committed to make the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment stronger and more effective, including through strengthening collaboration with the African Ministers of Finance and Economic Planning.

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