Africa seizes Green Economy opportunity with major conference in 2011
A major Africa-wide conference highlighting on how the more than 50 nations on the continent can transit to a low-carbon, resource-efficient Green Economy will take place next year in response to the call by the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), says a press statement from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Released in Adis Ababa, Ethiopia and Nairobi, Kenya on Monday the statement said the conference will showcase how smart policy moves and creative investments across sectors, ranging from agriculture and transport to fisheries and forests, can drive green and sustainable growth alongside job creation and livelihood for Africa’s one billion citizens.
The conference will be among the first fruits of a partnership on Africa’s options for a Green Economy –backed by the African Union; the African Development Bank; the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which emerged Wednesday at the VII African Development Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director who is attending the forum, said: “Africa is at key crossroads in its history. It is facing multiple challenges from overcoming poverty and coping with climate change to rising water scarcity and food insecurity in part linked with sharp levels of desertification.”
“But it is also a moment of rising opportunities that many leaders in Africa are glimpsing from the potential for renewable energy such as wind and solar to the extraordinary economic importance of Africa’s nature-based assets such as its forests, river systems and coastal waters – not to speak of a young and in many cases, an increasingly skilled work force,” he added.
Mr. Steiner is among 700 delegates from Africa and beyond, including the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, the Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg; the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping; French Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo; Africa Development Bank President, Donald Kaberuka and UNECA Executive Secretary Abdouile Janneh.
Since launching the Green Economy Initiative in 2008, during the height of the ongoing global financial and economic crisis, many countries have come forward seeking advisory services from UNEP on how they can tailor their economies along such a path.
By Edmund Smith-Asante