Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Africa Consensus Statement for Rio + 20

Adapted from the Africa Consensus Statement for Rio + 20 On the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication: 21. We reiterate the need to define the green economy as a tool for achieving sustainable development, and to assess the opportunities and challenges related to this concept, as well as the means of implementation needed to achieve a smooth transition to a green economy in our countries. 22. We note that the combined stream of economic, social and environmental crises that have plagued the global economy in recent years points to a need to reorient the current development models towards a more efficient, inclusive and sustainable economy by enhancing the resource efficiency of national economies, and decoupling economic activity from environmental degradation. In this context, we recognize that the transition to a green economy could offer new opportunities for advancing the achievement of Africa’s sustainable development objectives through economic growth, employment creation, and the reduction of poverty and inequalities, in accordance with the principles and recommendations of the 1992 Rio Summit and the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. 23. We confirm that through a consultative process, African countries have already begun to identify opportunities and challenges in the region’s transition to a green economy. 24. We emphasize that, for Africa to benefit from this transition, the promotion of a green economy in the region should be underlined by national objectives, social, economic and environmental development imperatives and the attainment of internationally agreed sustainable development commitments, including the MDGs. In this regard, we call on the international community to put an international investment strategy in place to facilitate the transition towards a green economy. Furthermore, there is a need to foster better understanding of the green economy in the context of Africa, as a way to protect and sustain natural capital, improve resource efficiency, including innovative financing, and sustainable consumption and production, and enhance contributions to sustainable development. 25. We emphasize the need to ensure the sustainable management of lands as part of the green economy efforts. We are aware that managing a green economic transformation will require an enabling environment, including policies and institutional frameworks that imply a critical role for the State, through public investment, fiscal and social policies, regulations, public procurement, public-private partnerships, sustainable livelihoods, and market creation at national, regional and global levels, as well as the facilitation of an active participation of non-State actors. We recognize the African private sector as a critical player in the region’s transition to a green economy. We encourage the private sector and other major groups, including women, youth, farmers, trade unions, academia, civil society, scientific and technological community and non-governmental organizations to play their rightful role in the context of sustainable development. 26. We note that, Africa, being at the early stages of industrialization, has an opportunity to pursue sustainable industrial growth that limits the environmental, social and economic costs of industrialization, and increases the efficient use of energy and material input, thereby enhancing international competitiveness. Therefore, there is a need to remove all obstacles to the full implementation of this process. The African Ten-Year Framework of the Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production, as endorsed by the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment(AMCEN) and the African Union, and the subsequent activities on developing national local sustainable consumption and production action plans should be used and supported to contribute to the promotion of sustainable industrial development and the green economy. 27. We strongly urge the international community to support African countries to enable them to benefit fully from the sectors in which they have a comparative advantage. We fully recognize that forest ecosystems are important for the people as well as for adapting to and mitigating climate change. We therefore request the international community to support countries in the sustainable management of their forests through the effective and efficient implementation of the mechanisms of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 28. We note that without protecting, restoring and managing our land sustainably, we will miss biodiversity, climate change, forests and MDGs targets; we will not alleviate rural poverty and hunger, ensure long-term food security, or build resilience to drought and water stress. These will have implications on social and political stability, including geopolitical conflicts and migration. 29. We therefore stress that the time has come for the international community to commit itself to a land degradation neutral world by setting sustainable development goals on land use, with targets towards achieving zero net land degradation. 30. We call for making sustainable land-use in agriculture, food security, energy and forestry a cornerstone of the green economy for sustainable development and poverty eradication. 31. We further call for enhanced implementation of UNCCD, supported by a globally agreed strong and effective science-policy interface, and improvement of the financing framework for implementation. 32. We reiterate that the green economy should not be used as a trade barrier or to impose conditionalities on developing countries; neither should it be used by developed countries as a pretext for not fulfilling their pledges and commitments towards developing countries. The green economy should be based on the Rio principles, including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and respect the policy space of each country. 33. We emphasize that transitioning to a green economy, including the scoping thereof, should be accompanied by adequate means of implementation, including new and additional financial, technological and technical assistance to developing countries, in Africa, especially. At the regional level, countries need to develop their own marketing mechanisms. Furthermore, all parties, in particular, developed countries, should refrain from using unilateral measures or initiatives in this framework. 34. We further emphasize that the transition to a green, efficient and inclusive economy in Africa would require increased investments, access to technologies and capacity-building. This calls for the development of a new generation of physical and institutional infrastructure. To this end, we are of the view that an agreement on the Global Ten-Year Framework of Programmes to promote sustainable consumption and production would be a useful contribution, by Rio+20, to support the transition to green economies and help developing countries with financial and technical support, appropriate technology transfer, capacity-building and market access. 35. We are pleased to note that several African countries have already begun to identify opportunities and challenges in the region’s transition to a green economy through different regional support programmes. We are further gratified that over the years, innovative policies and practices on sustainable forms of farming, renewable energy development, ecosystem-based adaptation, resource efficient production and the enhancement of natural capital have been successfully implemented in some countries. We welcome the exchange of experiences and best practices in these areas, and call for the scaling up of these practices. We underscore the need for mechanisms to regulate the use of land for commercial purposes, with equity and judicial considerations of communities in mind. Source