A five- day regional forum and training workshop on Green Economy was held in Accra, Ghana. The workshop, on the theme “Greening Industries and Green Entrepreneurship Promotion as a Driver of Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in Rural Africa”, was organised by the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA), in collaboration with the International Training Centre of the ILO and the ILO’s Green Jobs Programme, from 9th -13th November, 2015. The forum brought together 80 participants from 30 African countries.
Its aim was to enhance and build the capacity of policy makers and researchers in Africa to understand the role of business in the transition to a green economy in rural Africa and to promote the creation, development and growth of green and resource efficient enterprises in the African region.
In his welcome address, Dr. Elias T. Ayuk, the Director of the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) noted that the Institute is focusing on green economy promotion as one of its strategic areas because of the increasing environmental degradation in Africa.
“Our interest in pursuing research and capacity building in the area of green economy has been informed by the fact that environmental degradation coupled with climate change are putting immense pressures on the natural resource base, which accounts for close to 25% of natural capital in sub-Saharan Africa compared to 2 % in the European countries”, remarked Dr. Ayuk.
Commenting on the theme of the workshop in her opening remarks, Ms Christine Evans-Klock, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Ghana emphasised the need to pursue the sustainable development goals in a coherent manner. She noted “the SDGs comprise a coherent package, one unified development agenda, no longer playing off social, economic and environment goals but realising they have to be pursued together or they will undo each other”. She stressed on the need to focus on energy, inclusive development, private sector development, environmental protection, nutrition, and poverty reduction to ensure sustainable development.
The event offered participants two parallel learning tracks to customize their learning experience according to their individual interests. The topics discussed were:
i) Greening industries and enterprises. This addressed resource input optimisation and minimisation of environmental risk and pollution in the production process and supply chain through the review of well-established approaches and workplace practices, and;
ii) Green entrepreneurship and eco-innovation, which addressed how to unleash the potential of new business opportunities in environmental goods and services in rural Africa.
The forum encouraged a participatory learning approach notably through a knowledge fair that gave the opportunity for extensive experience exchange. It concluded with a forward-thinking discussion on how to create an enabling environment for green enterprise and green industry development, for instance, through effective policy frameworks and research-based advocacy, revisiting traditional African practices and taking into account gender dimensions in rural Africa.
The event was organised in the framework of the UNU-INRA green economy project “Unleashing the potential of African Rural Economies through Green Growth ”, funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC ). Other partners of the forum were UNECA and UNIDO.
For further information, please visit the event online platform on https://nexus.unu.edu/greeneconomy/