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The Kampala Declaration on Migration, Environment and Climate Change (KDMECC) Expert Working Group Kicks Off Following First Conference in Nairobi in May 2023.
Nairobi – The Government of Kenya hosted the Expert Working Group of the Kampala Ministerial Declaration on Migration, Environment and Climate Change at a two-day conference in Nairobi, Kenya. The event was supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa, in partnership with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s and East Africa Development Bank’s Regional Collaboration Centre (RCC) for East and Southern Africa and moderated by the Government of Uganda.
The conference, which marked the first meeting of the Expert Working Group, brought together over 40 climate experts from the signatory countries (Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda), the African Union Commission (AUC), representatives from the East African Community (EAC), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), IOM, UNFCCC's RCC, and youth climate advocate.
Dr Pacifica Achieng Ogola, Director and Head of the Climate Change Directorate, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Government of the Republic of Kenya, who officially opened the conference, highlighted, “Several policies have been put in place at regional and national levels to address climate change and human mobility, but there is still a gap in the implementation of these instruments, and this is why the Kampala Declaration brings us close to implementing them.”
Speakers acknowledged that climate change is a common concern and continues to reshape migration patterns globally, with the East and Horn of Africa being one of the most vulnerable regions to climate variability and change. Ambassador Namira Negm, Director of the African Migration Observatory, African Union, stated, “The Expert Working Group conference is a milestone to turn words into action, and I am excited that it is taking place only a few months after adopting the Declaration. I commend the work that the region is pioneering in raising awareness of climate issues on migration and the impact it brings. The African Union looks forward to working closely with all the partners for the benefit of our continent and reach the Africa we all want.”
In their remarks, speakers underscored the Kampala Declaration on MECC as an urgent call for the parties to the UNFCCC to respond to the impact of climate change on human mobility across the African continent and to support affected communities who are among the world's most vulnerable. The Kampala Declaration on MECC is a landmark for enhancing regional cooperation on climate change-induced human mobility, including migration, displacement, and planned relocation. Speakers also emphasized that technical experts are crucial in advancing the Kampala Declaration into concrete action at national, regional, and continental levels.
Conference attendees discussed and agreed upon a Terms of Reference (ToR) to guide the activities of the Expert Working Group; a visibility plan to support the communication efforts of the group; and a plan to conduct an analytical study on the commitments and requirements stated in the declaration. Participants agreed that the Government of the Republic of Uganda will act as a chair of the Expert Working Group on a rotational basis, and IOM will serve as the secretariat to provide technical support to the group as needed. During the conference, the experts also gave support to a strategy to expand the Kampala Declaration on MECC beyond the East and Horn of Africa Region.
Moving forward, the Expert Working Group will contribute to developing a detailed implementation plan to address the effects of climate change on human mobility, as highlighted in the commitments of the Kampala Declaration on MECC.
Mr Bob Natifu, Assistant Commissioner, Climate Change, Ministry of Water and Environment, the Government of the Republic of Uganda, concluded, “This first EWG conference marks a significant step in addressing the challenges that our region faces on climate-induced mobility. It is the first time such a large group of states has come together to forward the implementation of a regional framework on Migration, Environment, and Climate Change. There is a lot of work to be done, and ambitions are high for the Kampala Ministerial Declaration, but I am confident this group can and will deliver.“
For more media enquiries and information, please contact: Yvonne Ndege, Regional Spokesperson, IOM, the International Organization for Migration, East & Horn of Africa Regional Office, Nairobi: Tel +254797735977, email email@example.com