24 August 2009. Addis Abeba. Ministers from 10 African countries have met in Ethiopia to try to agree a common position on climate change, months before a crucial UN meeting. Yhey were expected to renew demands for billions of dollars in compensation for Africa because of damage caused by global warming. And they are likely to ask rich nations to cut emissions by 40% by 2012.
One of the documents prepared for the meeting refers to the "dismal co-ordination" of the African negotiation process. So far, delegations from individual countries have had limited success in making the case that Africa needs special help to cope with climate change.
The "representatives and experts" of African Union (AU) leaders - who include environment and agriculture ministers from the 10 countries - are meeting in Addis Ababa under Libyan chairmanship in an attempt to change this.
Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, said all African leaders should support the AU's efforts to form a clear message. But she said Africa too had its responsibilities.
"We are all hoping we will develop and attain a higher quality of life, so there has to be a very serious commitment on the part of Africa that we will not be opting for development patterns that will reverse whatever other countries are trying to do," she said.
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