Towards a Green Economy in Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya
It is within this paradigm that the conference ‘Towards a Green Economy in Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya and the Role of Strategic Environmental Assessment’ took place in Maputo, Mozambique between 23rd and 27th April 2012.
“The main objectives of the three-country Conference on Green Economy were to advance road maps to a green economy and agree on post-Rio regional process, collaborate on their implementation, as well as to promote integration of Strategic Environmental Assessment in future green economy planning processes,” said Dr. Peter Scheren, Regional Coordinator of WWF’s Coastal East Africa Programme.
The economies of the three countries are largely based on natural resources extraction (natural gas, oil, minerals, agriculture, tourism, fisheries and timber trade). The management of this ‘natural capital’ is crucial in order to allow the countries lift out of poverty, create jobs and ensure long-term livelihood of the population.
Currently, this ‘natural capital’ is under-valued as key economic assets and consequently over-exploited for short-term benefits. Fortunately, all countries in the region are already working, to varying extent, towards implementation of Green Economy principles. The heightened attention raised by the ‘Rio +20’ conference offers an opportunity to scale-up this progress.
“At this moment, Mozambique is in the process of preparing its country report to the Rio +20 Summit. The country is also preparing its roadmap for a green economy with a focus on three sectors that will be considered more in-depth; agriculture, energy and urban planning,” said Her Excellency Alcinda de Abreu, Minister for the Coordination if Environmental Affairs, Mozambique, during the conference’s opening session.
One of the key conclusions of the Conference was that some key sectors provide excellent opportunities to drive Green Economy at country level. These sectors are agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism, urban development and renewable energy.
In regard to the latter, the Conference concluded that the potential for renewable energy (wind, geothermal, hydropower, solar, etc.) in the region are enormous and there was an urge for Governments to create the necessary enabling conditions (policies, regulations, tax incentives, etc.) to advance investments in this sector.
There are commonalities between the economies of the three countries–including the aspect of shared resources and cross-border trade. The delegates recommended further regional cooperation and exchange of experiences and lessons between the countries. They further defined and agreed upon a regional roadmap towards a Green Economy, including the roles of various partners therein.
Considering the profile and importance of Rio +20, it was recommended that a regional side event would be organized at the Conference. Here, government delegates and partners could solidify and launch a regional partnership for a Green Economy. In the same regard, it was recommended that further opportunities should be investigated to advance the regional partnership through side events at the upcoming Conference of African Ministers of Environment (Dar es Salaam, September 2012) and the Nairobi Convention Conference of Parties (Maputo, December 2012).
The Conference brought together representatives from various key Government Ministries in Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique, including Planning, Finance, Environment, Fisheries, Forests, Agriculture, Tourism, Mining and Energy, and Education, to discuss prospects and progress made in the implementation of Green Economy principles in their respective countries. The Conference furthermore involved a number of key partners in support of this process: UNDP, UNEP, ILO, the African Development Bank, the International Institute of Environment and Development, the Millennium Institute, WWF, Care International and the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED).