By IISD Reporting Services
The 11th Africa Environment Day was convened in Tunis, Tunisia, under the theme “Partnership for Africa’s Transition to Green Economy in Support of African Renaissance.” Participants used the opportunity to stress the role of the green economy in achieving a sustainable future on the continent.
Under the auspices of the African Union (AU), those in attendance spoke of assessing Africa’s path to a green economy and its linkages to poverty eradication, environmental protection and sustainable development. Both the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) noted that the green economy and its ability to leapfrog technologies will allow countries to increase their resilience to disasters.
Others, highlighting that transitioning to a green economy needs to be country-specific, urged strengthening and establishing partnerships in line with the outcomes of UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). They also underscored the Partnership for Green Economy in Africa and its role in supporting countries in creating national green economy strategies. Participants also addressed: the role of biodiversity in providing a foundation for sustainable development; sustainable use of natural resources; the need to curb further land degradation and drought; and the importance of protecting existing forests and restoring degraded lands and water systems.
In regard to land degradation, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) highlighted African calls at Rio+20 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.”
Africa Environment Day is also known as Wangari Maathai Day, in honor of her contribution to sustainable development and environmental protection. It is held annually on 3 March. It was proclaimed by the AU in 2002 to raise awareness on pressing environmental issues in Africa.
Africa Environment Day 2013 Highlights Green Economy - Sustainable Development Policy & Practice