“We have to tackle climate change at home, but we must certainly not forget the poorest countries. They are the biggest victims of climate change.” That is the message of Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo and of Enabel director Jean Van Wetter. Today and tomorrow, the Belgian development agency Enabel organizes an international climate conference in Brussels. More than 170 participants from Belgium and from abroad will debate on plans to integrate climate change into the development strategies of secondary cities, including cities in the partner countries of the Belgian development cooperation.
Urban environments most vulnerable
Jean Van Wetter: “More than half of the world's population lives in urban areas today, by 2050 that figure will rise to almost seven people out of ten. Cities contribute strongly to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, they are also the most vulnerable for the negative effects of climate change like heat waves, floods and powerful storms. The consequences are all the worse in the least developed countries.”
This is the reason why Enabel organizes today and tomorrow an international conference on how to tackle climate change in Africa’s secondary cities. These cities heavily depend on agriculture and on natural resources from the hinterland. The focus of the conference lies amongst others on the conversion of national climate plans into local projects, the development of a green economy, and on environmentally-friendly constructions works. The discussions must also to lead to recommendations for the new Belgian cooperation programs with Rwanda, Ben in and Tanzania.
100 million euro per year
Alexander De Croo: “Enabel’s climate conference comes at a crucial moment. Apart from the new climate report, the topic must also be incorporated in the cooperation with our partner countries. Today, our country already donates around 100 million euro to support the poorest countries in their struggle with the changing climate. That is necessary because those countries have the least means to protect themselves while they suffer the biggest consequences.”
The participating experts – representatives of European development agencies, the European Commission, NGO’s, universities, representatives of partner countries, and mayors of secondary cities – are given the opportunity to exchange experiences and expand their professional network at the conference. The Belgian development agency Enabel organizes the conference in collaboration with the climate department of the FPS Public Health, the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation, and the Brussels-Capital Region.
Minister of Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development Marie-Christine Marghem opened the conference saying that “the climate report published yesterday by the UN climate panel is a global warning and puts everyone face-to-face with his responsibilities.”, she underlined.