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Green economy takes hold in African countries

         Date: 2012-09-12

           Tag: African countries, African economy, African Green economy

Summary: Jointly prepared by the AMCEN Secretariat, the African Union Commission and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the document provides a synoptic analysis of the key outcomes and implications of the…

 In the light of the growing interest in green economy transition, African countries are seeking external support to have consolidated, reliable and up-to-date environment information that could feed into national planning processes, according to a working document prepared for the African Ministerial Council on Environment (AMCEN) meeting here this week.  Production of such information and data will have to be coupled with a strong capacity-building component at national level to ensure its continuous and systematic updating.

Jointly prepared by the AMCEN Secretariat, the African Union Commission and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the document provides a synoptic analysis of the key outcomes and implications of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) or Rio+20 for the continent.

The Conference, held in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, had two main themes: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and the institutional framework for sustainable development.

At its conclusion, countries adopted a decision on the establishment of a 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production as part of a global pact on production and consumption.

On the basis of this decision, a technical meeting on green economy and eco-labelling held here suggested that the African Ten-Year Framework of the Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production, and subsequent activities on developing national consumption and production plans should be used to promote sustainable industrial development and the green economy.

Eco-labelling of sustainable produced products and services provides a market-based instrument to enhance access to international markets for African businesses and, as a result, provide an additional incentive for these businesses to adopt sustainable consumption and production programmes, according to findings by Kofi Vondolia and Moustapha Kamal Gueye, both from UNEP.

The African programme emphasises the importance of linking sustainable consumption and production with the challenges of meeting basic needs and provision of sustainable livelihoods.

Thematic priority areas identified in the programme are energy, water and sanitation, habitat and urban development, and renewable resource-based industries.

Several projects and programmes such as demand-side management of energy use and of water use in Uganda and Zambia have been undertaken under the framework programme.

Others include a water saving initiative of beverages industries in Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe; a project on sustainable buildings policies in Burkina Faso and Kenya; integrated solid waste management projects in Egypt, Mozambique and Zimbabwe; toolkits for the application of resource efficiency in small and medium enterprises in Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda; and the development of an Africa eco-labelling mechanism.

Experts meeting here believe that the 14th AMCEN this week will serve as an important avenue to translate Rio+20 outcomes into action plans that promote sustained and inclusive improvement of human wellbeing on the continent

Under this programme, UNEP is already providing policy advice, technical assistance and capacity building to support national and regional initiatives on green economy.

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