Though climate change is a global problem, a common theme at this Congress is that solutions must also reflect regional, national, and local perspectives. This sounds systematically relevant on paper, but in reality, finding global-national-local linkages to a global phenomenon seems like a daunting task. An imperative question, then, is how to balance the need for global governance while at the same time ensuring that local actors remain part of the solution-finding process. With so many actors looking for solutions to a common problem, how does one ensure that all voices in the debate are heard? The African answer to this dilemma seems to be ensuring that continental, regional, and national levels are all involved in the climate change mitigation and adaptation process. Following the May 29, 2009 Special Session on Climate Change, 30 African Union member-states signed the Nairobi Declaration. This Declaration recognizes the “need [for Africa] to speak with one voice in the negotiations process for the new legaly binding global climate change regime.” At the regional level, SADC (South African Development Community), ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States), and ECA (East African Community) have each incorporated climate change into their general bloc mandates. Considering that the predominant exporting commodities of these blocs are products that are greatly influenced by changes to climates (i.e. coffee, cocoa, cotton), these regional blocs are seeking solutions to climate change. National governments are drafting national strategies to address climate change at the state level. The Government of Uganda’s National Adaptation Programme of Action has been highlighted at this Congress as providing the state a framework of action for climate change mitigation and adaptation. With state, regional, and continental levels of governance operating together to ensure a collaborative approach to climate change mitigation, the hope is that Africa will maintain a strong position at the UN Climate Change Conference in December.
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