African environment ministers renew support for green recovery

Environment ministers from the African continent last Thursday pledged mobilization of additional resources to accelerate a post-pandemic recovery that is green and inclusive.

Speaking at the 18th session of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) that took place virtually, the ministers said that supportive policies, adequate financing and political goodwill is key to place the continent on a green and sustainable recovery pathway.

Barbara Creecy, South African Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries and outgoing president of AMCEN, said that enhanced protection of habitats and climate financing will revitalize Africa’s quest for green pandemic recovery.

“We can use environmental sustainability as a vehicle for post COVID-19 recovery in Africa. The continent should adopt green stimulus packages to support its journey towards low carbon growth pathways,” said Creecy.

The meeting of African environment ministers held under the theme of “Securing people’s well-being and ensuring environmental sustainability in Africa”, was also attended by representatives of multilateral organizations and continental blocs.

Inger Andersen, executive director of UN Environment Program (UNEP) that has served as the secretariat of AMCEN since its inception in 1985, stressed that Africa’s ability to overcome pandemic shocks hinges on green investments.

According to Andersen, the continent should enact progressive legislation and policies, promote investments in clean technologies and harness nature-based solutions to accelerate recovery from pandemic-linked economic downturn.

She said that Africa has a chance to rebuild its economies, strengthen climate resilience of communities if governments explore innovative financing toward renewable energy, pollution control and ecosystems restoration.

Abdou Karim Sall, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development of Senegal and incoming president of AMCEN underscored the critical role of regional cooperation, sharing of best practices and policy harmonization to promote green recovery and restore degraded ecosystems in Africa.

Josefa Leonel Corriea Sacko, commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment at the African Union Commission, said that investments in green recovery will unleash multiple benefits including food security, improved health outcomes and greater access to clean energy.

According to Sacko, a green recovery master plan for the continent once implemented fully will boost war against poverty, create new jobs, reduce negative impact of climatic shocks to livelihoods, improve peace and stability.

She said continental blocs have rallied behind green financing to help restore livelihoods devastated by the pandemic and promote climate-resilient development.

This article was originally shared by CGTN News.