Africa now moving towards green economy
Published 14th October 2010 - 0 comments - 496 views -
By Ochieng’ Ogodo
[Addis Ababa] Africa is now moving in the right direction trying to seize every opportunity to redirect her development paths along green economy lines, Archim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said yesterday.
Speaking at the Seventh African Development Forum organised by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Steiner said, Africa is one of the regions of the earth endowed with immense natural resource base including genetic resources from animals and plants to humble life forms such as fungi.
“Many leaders here have glimpsed a future based on transition to low carbon, resource efficient economy in which environmental sustainability is the engine room,” he said.
This new development in which Africa is now taking new approach in her development paths geared towards green economy, has also been necessitated by other abundant natural resources like hot rocks, wind and solar power potential in its forest and their potential in combating global climate change.
“When you look across this continent leaders and business, communities and citizens are seizing opportunities to red-define and re-focus their development paths along green economy lines,” stated Steiner.
Addressing participants at the High Level Seminar on Environmental Diplomacy organized by UNEP-ECA and African Union Commission, Steiner said with support from banks including regional development banks, multilateral and bilateral support but most importantly transformational public policy, the continent could unleash international and domestic private sector investments on a scale never seen before.
For instance, Steiner said in Kenya where UNEP is headquartered a new government feed-in tariffs has triggered investment in the energy sector in the Lake Turkana region in what will be the biggest wind farms in Africa on completion with capacity of 300 MW.
UNEP, he said, was now showcasing smart markets mechanism and seeking to move forward policy shifts through advisory services. “These are aimed at outlining ways in which Green Economy transition-based broadly on close to 12 sectors-can be tailored to individual countries or sectors,” he said.
The UNEP boss added that, “In Africa, around seven countries have requested or are signaling request for such support including through the UNEP-UN Development Programme’s Poverty and Environment Initiative.”
In Uganda where 85 percent of working population is in the agricultural sector, he said, organic farming was taking hold and was now boosting exports and incomes.
“Since 2004,” Steiner told participants, “the number of certified organics farmers has grown from 45,000 to over 200,000 and the area of land under organics cultivation from 185,000 hectares to close to 300,000 hectares.”
According to Steiner UNEP was also engaged in partnerships to prepare various countries including those in Africa like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Zambia for Reduced Emission from Deforestation and forest n Degradation.
“Prospects for a new, global climate change deal in Cancun, Mexico may appear slim. But significant progress including funding on REDD is a UNEP priority as it is an African one.”
Green economy, he explained have evolved into one of the two themes for the Plus 2o in 2012 in Brazil and the next two years will define the scope and ambition of the RIO meeting. Some countries are now questioning its relevance to developing countries or as to whether it will become a new focus for ‘green’ trade barriers.
Bu such debates in Steiner’s view were important and can only be met with openness transparency and an enthusiasm to engage intellectually and practically.
About the author
- TCKTCK: Got only 10 years to save ourselves!
- Denmark cries in Sea of Blood, 950 Whales and Dolphins KILLED…
- Micro pigs - the ultimate sweetheart energy saver
- If you want to see nude people click here
- Do we really care about our planet? Think twice before answering.
- Evolutions in the history of Environment Part 2
- Bunnies for fuels: not a good story to share in a grade school classroom