Green economy offers Africa opportunity for sustainable development.
Published 02nd November 2010 - 0 comments - 562 views -
By Ochieng’ Ogodo
Green economy is not some alternative concept or parallel technology but a viable window of opportunity that can catapult sustainable economic development for Africa, Archim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has said.
He told a session on Climate Change adaptation and mitigation: The Green economy at the Seventh African Development Forum organised by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) that Africa must weigh its development options keenly.
The continent, he said, must move away from programmes that lead to destructive developments like deforestation to those that are sustainable and addresses peoples’ needs like water scarcity and depleted soil nutrients. “Green economy is making the invisible visible,” he said.
“Do we realise the value of ecosystem services that we get from the naturals resources,” he posed. The fact of the matter, Steiner added, is that leaders across the world, especially in Africa are beginning to face the challenges of development facing them.
Green economy, he said, was not adding colour but another core value to ensuring that the current generation does not exploit ecosystem resources in a manner that will not leave the coming generation with nothing to depend on.
“This is not foreign to Africa and leaders here are beginning to address sustainable development,” said Steiner.
He said economic development in these countries have been measured in Gross Domestic Product terms in the past but it is high time that ecosystem services worth value were also captured in social and economic terms.
Green economy, he said, was about water, environment, renewable energy, fisheries and many others. “This concept is not new and perhaps it has just reached and umbrella label,” Steiner stated.
He gave Ethiopia as one of the trailblazers in Africa for green economy and that the country had committed to projects that will ensure it has carbon free economy by 2015
Kenya is another such example of a country moving towards green economy with wind and geothermal power production projects.
He said land degradation and ecosystem depletions in Africa had been severe and that forests and wetlands had been destroyed in name of, among others, solving landlessness, fuel supply for most of the ordinary people.
For Africa to prosper, Steiner pointed out, it must mainstream development of renewable energy as part of economic development. “The value of global investments in renewable energy was much more than that of gas, oils and nuclear power put together last year, Steiner said.
On agriculture, he explained, what Africa needed was not mechanized farms mining soil fertility but land use practices that never degraded and ecosystem that small-holder farmers depend on for production and that these are some of the realities shaping new paths to development in Africa.
“Nothing is without risks and even green economy has its own risks but the question is can Africa deal with these,” said Steiner.
Benoit Labot, Regional Technical Advisor, Climate change and energy at UNDP, said climate change is a challenge to development but would also be an opportunity for clean energy programmes “We have to change the way we do things we do tings about energy, which is development. We have to anchor our thoughts on climate change,” he said.
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.
- Bunnies for fuels: not a good story to share in a grade school classroom
- Evolutions in the history of Environment Part 2