News Column

Kaberuka Calls for Environment Protection

June 2, 2014

Stevenson Mugisha

The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Donald Kaberuka, has challenged African governments and people to be at a forefront in the protection of the environment.

Kaberuka made the call during a discussion about the future of green growth in Africa in the context of the AfDB annual meetings.

He said that Africans are free to use the resources at their disposal but they should use them in a way that preserves the environment.

"We are a continent where our livelihoods are very close to nature and there is a link between development, security and environment and you cannot separate the three elements," Kaberuka said.

He added that he believes that green growth, apart from being a way to preserve natural capital, will also provide jobs for the future generations.

He said that there is need to mobilize governments across the African continent to ensure that recommendations on the promotion of environment, which have been put in place by the United Nations Environment Program and other environment organizations across Africa, are implemented adding that his bank will mobilize the political will in African countries.

He noted that green growth means a selection of economic activities that promote environment change for social development, adding that green growth also advocates for the improvement of water, energy and food security in the region.

The green growth program will also contribute to poverty eradication, sustainable development, enhance social inclusion and improve social welfare with opportunities for employment among Africans and at the same time maintaining the functioning of the earth.

Real action

In his remarks, the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi who was one of the panelists, said that many African countries have developed and reiterated their national green growth strategies.

He noted that while the green growth appeal has been high, translating it into real action remains fundamentally challenging and problematic adding that Africa's economic growth is on the rise which is very good news for Africans. However, he said that green growth activities around the continent are not worthy to achieve economic transformation in the future.

He said that the current growth registered in Africa is mainly based on small industries involving minerals, oil, timber and fisheries saying that it is imperative to put in place more strategies and programs that are geared towards the promotion of green growth on the continent if African nations are to maintain and accelerate the current economic growth pace.

He said that Rwanda developed a national strategy for climate change and low carbon development in 2011 saying that its purpose is to guide the national policy, mainstreaming climate change into all sectors of the economy and positioning Rwanda to access international funding to achieve climate resilience and low carbon development.

"The national strategy for climate change also addresses how the country can overcome the major hitches to Rwanda's sustainable development that include demographic pressure, climate vulnerability that is caused by depending on rain fed agriculture," Kamanzi said.

He noted that the national strategy for climate change and low carbon development is also aimed at pursuing a green economy approach towards economic transformation adding that its ultimate objective is to transform Rwanda by 2050 into a developed country with a strong servicing sector where industry and agriculture have a minimal impact on the environment and are hinged on resource use efficiency and operating in a sustainable way.

He added that development is envisaged to be achieved with low carbon domestic energy resources and practices as well as ensuring community livelihood resilience on climate vulnerability.

He added that to support the implementation of the national environment strategy, the government of Rwanda has set up a national fund for environment and climate change called FONERWA which is the channel to mobilize national and international financial resources to find projects and other initiatives that support the green growth national agenda.

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Source: AllAfrica

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