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First African Green Growth Forum Aims to Unlock the Continent's Economic Potential

15.05.2015  10:22
The first African Regional Green Growth Forum took place in Nairobi on 13 - 14 May

"" Standing in centre (L-R): H.E. William Ruto, Deputy President of Kenya; H.E. Geert Aagaard Andersen, Ambassador to Kenya, Denmark; Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP

Nairobi, 13 May 2015 - The first African Regional Green Growth Forum opened today in Nairobi, attended by the Deputy President of Kenya, H.E. William Ruto, and more than 200 delegates, including African ministers of environment, policy-makers, international financial and environmental experts, and leaders from the private sector.

The Forum was jointly organized by the Government of Kenya, the Government of Denmark and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), under the umbrella of the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) which convenes governments, businesses, investors and international organizations to act together for inclusive green growth.

The two-day conference worked to identify the barriers to Africa's sustainable development and the ways to turn them into opportunities for green growth and improved livelihoods. The focus was on three key areas: new financing models for green growth, sustainable urbanization and sustainable lifestyles.

The forum is expected to stimulate discussion on reliable and sustainable supply in energy for Africa, achieving sustainable industrialization through the circular economy and funnelling modern technology into the continent.

Africa holds an unparalleled green growth potential. A transition to green economy could meet many of the current challenges and create an opportunity for improved livelihoods and sustainable lifestyles. To seize this opportunity, new innovative, sustainable and inclusive growth and business models are needed.

"This year, a series of events will set the development agenda for decades to come: the Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa, the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda, and the climate change meeting in Paris at the end of the year," said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNEP.

"The 3GF provides a timely opportunity for African stakeholders to define their priorities to feed into these important processes," he added. "We are seeing the continent take advantage of the many green economy opportunities at its fingertips. Building on a strong endowment of natural resource and skills, Africa is poised to become the frontline of a global transition to more-inclusive green economies."

"Africa in general, and Kenya in particular, holds an unparalleled green growth potential. A transition to green economy could meet many of our current challenges and create an opportunity for improved livelihoods and employment creation for all. If we want to seize this new opportunity, new, innovative, sustainable and inclusive growth and business models are needed," said Prof. Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Kenya.

"We need to unlock the African and global potential for green growth. To do so, all actors must work closer together and be 'powerful doers'. Together we can create a common green growth pathway by facilitating concrete action-oriented partnership solutions," said Martin Lidegaard, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Denmark. "The 3GF aims to provide exactly this common space for private and public decision-makers."

3GF-Africa is the first of a series of regional conferences that 3GF is organising in Africa, Asia and Latin America throughout 2015. By engaging high-level partners from all regions of the world, and from both public and private spheres, 3GF seeks to demonstrate that green solutions, scalable to the global level and spurring economic growth, are at hand.

UNEP moderated discussions, and actively feeds them through the UNEP Finance Initiative and the UNEP Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System, which are partners for the financial segment of the forum.

In addition to discussing the green-growth strategies for the continent, the forum's participants will also engaged in concrete partnership-building activities, especially between private and public sectors, in the areas of water, energy, waste management, circular economy and land restoration.

The outcomes of this regional conference will feed into the next 3GF global Summit which will take place in Copenhagen 20 - 21 April 2016.

Also see the press relase at UNEP's website.