UNDP Country Director's remarks at the SWITCH Africa Green Networking ForumMay 28, 2016
On behalf of the United Nations Development Programme in Uganda, I am delighted be here with you all at this SWITCH Africa Green Project Networking Forum.
I am also glad to welcome you to the Uganda – the Pearl of Africa and hope you will take time off to enjoy the country’s beautiful green environment during your stay here.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This weekend’s event is special because it’s the first networking forum for the project in Africa and it aims to enrich the partnership between the various partners involved in inclusive green business development as well as sustainable consumption and production activities across Africa.
As you are all aware, ‘SWITCH Africa Green’, is a European Union (EU) funded initiative intended to support six pilot African countries including Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Mauritius, South Africa and Burkina Faso to achieve sustainable development by transitioning towards an inclusive green economy, through Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) practises patterns, while generating growth, creating decent jobs and reducing poverty.
As the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon noted in his article on Green Economics, “At a time when the global economy is sputtering, we need growth. At a time when unemployment in many nations is rising, we need new jobs. At a time when poverty threatens to overtake hundreds of millions of people, especially in the least developed parts of the world, we need the promise of prosperity. This possibility is at our fingertips.”
This possibility can be found in projects such as Switch Green Africa whose main objective is to support the development of green businesses, eco-entrepreneurship and use of SCP practices by having in place;
- Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and business service providers that are better equipped to seize opportunities for green business development.
- Well informed public and private consumers who seek out eco-friendly products.
- Enabling conditions in the form of clear policies, sound regulatory frameworks, incentive structures, tax and other fiscal and market-based instruments influencing key sector(s) in the six countries.
To achieve this objective, networking becomes a key component required to extract and share knowledge, lessons learnt and good practices through the national as well as regional forums and networks.
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.
Through an integrated and networked approach, multilateral stakeholders, national and local governments as well as private entities can be better equipped to approach development processes in a more effective, inclusive and transparent way.
This event is a suitable opportunity for us to learn from each other so that we are able to build inclusive green economies and eliminate poverty hence achieving Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals whose implementation kicked off at the start of this year.
Therefore, let’s seize the opportunity we have over the next two days to share the knowledge and far reaching experiences we have from across the continent and the globe from Switch Green programmes in the Mediterranean and Asia to ensure the success of Switch Green Africa.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we network over the course of this weekend, I would like to challenge all of you present here to ask yourselves – “What does a green economy, sustainable production and consumption mean for Africa and her people?” Once we have the answer to that, then our reason for being here is clear - we want to change the lives of the African people so no one among them is left behind on the journey to achieve sustainable development.
As I conclude, I would like to thank the European Union for its support towards this project and for partnering with UNDP, UNOPS and the Government of Uganda through its Ministry of Water and Environment to kick start it.
I take this opportunity to also reiterate UNDP’s commitment to working with the Government of Uganda and various partners to ensure that through initiatives such as these we are able to reach middle income status through a sustainable development approach.
Finally, I declare the SWITCH Africa Green Networking Forum officially open. I wish you all productive and interactive deliberations.