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Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
Please allow me to begin by extending my sincere thanks to our Portuguese hosts for bringing EU and Africa together in Lisbon today and for the tremendous effort and hard work preparing this summit.
And allow me to commend the co-chairs for the format chosen for our discussion on common key challenges. I would like to thank the speakers we have heard so far for their inspiring and thoughtful remarks. In particular I would like to mention the remarks made by chancellor Merkel on good governance, human rights and the situation in Zimbabwe. I fully agree with those remarks.
I am honoured that I have been given the task to address this Summit on some of the most challenging issues that are facing the world of today and the generations to come: Climate change and energy.
We have all experienced the extreme weather that has occurred in recent years. The link between human led CO2 emissions and global warming has been made clear by our scientists.
The negative impact from global warming is not distributed “fairly”. While most countries in Africa only contribute marginally to greenhouse emissions they are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Experts have estimated that by 2020 up to 250 million people in Africa will experience increased problems with water supply due to climate change. And in parts of Africa the harvest may be reduced by up to 50 percent in the same period of time. This will seriously hamper economic growth and the fight against poverty.
We therefore have a common interest in securing an ambitious, global and comprehensive climate agreement to replace the Kyoto protocol when it expires in 2012.
It must be an agreement that sets ambitious targets for dealing with the causes of climate change. We need to take decisive steps to reduce CO2 emissions. And the EU has already shown its willingness to do so. We have agreed to cut the emissions by 30% in 2020 as our contribution to a global and comprehensive agreement beyond 2012.
We also need to ensure that adaptation to climate change becomes an important part of a new climate agreement. Developing countries themselves will have to be in the forefront of the efforts to adapt to climate change. But Europe will stand by and assist in the process through close partnership with developing countries.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Under the new Joint Africa-EU Strategy, the EU hopes to create a strong partnership with Africa to meet the challenges related to the international climate change and energy agenda.
Access to energy is a precondition for development. Today, only 26 percent of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa has access to electricity. Access must be improved and power provided to many more Africans. This can be achieved without drastic increases in CO2 emissions. Therefore, one of the challenges we face is to ensure increased energy efficiency and increased access to green technology and renewable energy for African nations.
Denmark will be hosting the UN climate change conference in 2009. We are determined to do our utmost to facilitate a new comprehensive global agreement based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. To my mind, there is no doubt that this agreement will have to take Africa’s particular needs, challenges and opportunities into account as well as the responsibility of developed countries.
And the work has already started. While we are gathered here, our ministers are heading for Bali, Indonesia, to take part in this year’s UN climate change conference.
This conference is set to adopt a roadmap for the negotiations in the years to come. Negotiations that must result in a new international climate agreement in 2009.
With a global agreement we have a chance not only to combat a serious problem but also to initiate new mechanisms for development.
Let me therefore express my sincere request: That you all instruct your ministers not to leave Bali without an agreed roadmap that will lead us to a new international climate agreement in 2009!