Africa: Climate Change, Energy, and Stopping the Ebola Epidemic

press release

Caroline Kende-Robb — Ebola has already dealt a catastrophic blow to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone – all emerging from the shadows of conflict – and far too many are still dying from one of the world’s most virulent diseases. On current trajectories we can expect to see 1.4 million cases by the end of January 2015. As our Panel Chair, Kofi Annan, has repeatedly said, however, Ebola should not be a death sentence.

Stopping this global emergency requires a stronger response that focuses on the epicentre in West Africa. The world must act now, and in union, behind strong African leadership. The longer this epidemic runs, the harder it will be to bring it to a halt, and the greater will be the impact on the weakest sections of our society and the economies of the region.

This week, we are hosting a group of political and thought leaders from around the world to discuss climate change – an issue that is slower burning than Ebola but every bit as damaging. Africa generates just 3 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases, but has already been hardest hit in the past quarter century or so by the effects of a changing climate.

The meeting is our first step towards preparation for next year’s Africa Progress Report, which will focus on this and the related issues of energy, agriculture, and jobs. Our guests will discuss: How can Africa sustainably use its available resources to supply enormous energy needs?

To what extent, and where, should Africa prioritise renewable energies over fossil fuels? And how does Africa get finance for adaptation on the necessary scale?

Like other reports before it, we will be working hard to fill the 2015 report with policy recommendations. Most importantly, I want this report to be a useful contribution for Africa’s policy makers and to climate negotiators in Paris too.

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