Africa advised to Switch Green

Jun 6, 2016

Mr. Wilson Kwamya, UNDP Uganda Team leader for Green Growth for Poverty Reduction, Dr. Desta Mebratu, Deputy Regional Director, UNEP Regional office for Africa, Dr. Tom Okurut, Executive Director NEMA, Uganda, H.E Amb. Kristian Schimdt, European Delegation Uganda and Mr. Joshua Mutambi, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives at the Switch Africa Green Networking Forum press conference held after the opening of the Switch Africa Green Networking Forum in Kampala, Uganda. (Photo Credit: UNDPUganda2016).

 

KAMPALA - At the end of May, Uganda played host to Africa’s first Switch Africa Green regional networking forum.

The two day networking forum focused on sharing knowledge to advance green business development in Africa.

Speaking at the event, the European Union Head of Delegation to Uganda H.E Ambassador Kristian Schmidt called on African countries to switch to green business because it was the smart choice both for economics and also for livelihoods,” he said.

“The EU is already practising what we are preaching today, ensuring that our business are green and promoting sustainable consumption among our citizens,” Amb. Schmidt said.

He called on participants in the event to use the opportunity to network and learn from each other’s experiences which can be taken back to their countries to promote green growth.

Tom Okurut, the Executive Director of Uganda’s National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) who was representing the Minister of Water and Environment described Switch Africa Green as an opportunity for Uganda and Africa to create products and jobs that do not damage the environment.

“The government has the idea of green business development in its long term plans as it was included in the second National Development Plan (NDP II),” Mr. Okurut stated.

Also speaking at the event, Mr. Wilson Kwamya who represented the UNDP Country Director, called on the participants to seize the opportunity the networking offers to share the knowledge and far reaching experiences they have from across the continent and the globe.

“This is because networking is the single most powerful platform for developing countries to exchange knowledge that can enable them speed up their economic development,” he said.

He added that learning from each other would enable us to build inclusive green economies and eliminate poverty hence achieving Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) whose implementation kicked off at the start of this year.

The event which was held in Uganda’s capital city Kampala, follows the launch of the Switch Africa Green Project globally. The European Union (EU) funded project aims to help African countries in their transition to inclusive green economies as well as promote sustainable consumption and production patterns and practices.

Following the networking event was the 9th Africa Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production (ARSCP) which discussed how Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) can be a vehicle for Africa to achieve the SDGs.

Opening the ARSCP event, Uganda’s Minister for Water & Environment described it as a great platform to discuss how Africa can achieve sustainable production and consumption so as to create jobs while protecting our environment.

“While sustainable production and consumption is a balancing act because it is about  caring for the needs of today while keeping future needs in mind, it’s important for both Uganda and African  because we depend on the stock of our environment and natural resources,” Hon. Kamuntu said.

Dr. Desta Mebratu, Deputy Director of UNEP Regional Office for Africa agreed with the minister adding that African countries has a high potential to achieve cleaner production and sustainable consumption

Summing it up, Ms. Almaz Gebru, the UNDP Country Director described sustainable consumption and cleaner production as being about doing more and doing better with less so as to protect the environment.

Using the knowledge and ideas from the 9th ARSCP, Africa was called upon to make good use of its potential to achieve cleaner production to achieve development and so that in the spirit of the SDGs, no one is left behind.

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