UNEP reiterates commitment towards sustainable development



United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Deputy Executive Director, Mr Ibrahim Thiaw has reiterated UNEP’s commitment to support the integration of the environmental pillar of sustainable and green economy in development planning.

Thiaw made the disclosure when he met with top African leaders in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia as the AU prepares to launch the Common African Position on the Post-2015 development agenda.

In his discussions with President Sirleaf, who is also Chair of the African Union’s High-Level Committee on the Post-2015 Agenda, Thiaw spotlighted UNEP’s efforts to embed environmental sustainability into the post-2015 development agenda and into the rapidly developing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Sirleaf agreed that the environmental pillar will be a critical component of the SDGs, and affirmed that it would also be prominently reflected in the Common African Position.

Thiaw and President Sirleaf further agreed that UNEP will send a scoping mission to Liberia by April 2014, with the aim of agreeing on a formal cooperation agreement between UNEP and the West African nation.

Similarly, Thiaw’s meeting with Ethiopian Environment and Forest Minister Belete Taferecentered around a UNEP proposal to develop a cooperation framework to support Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient and Green Economy Strategy, which was introduced in 2011 to build Ethiopia’s green economy.
Through the proposed cooperation framework, UNEP would further bolster these efforts and help bring inclusive, green strategies to the forefront of Ethiopia’s economic development.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Executive Secretary Carlos Lopes, stressed that, if nothing was done to modernize Africa’s agricultural sector, agriculture would not contribute more than 1.26 per cent of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2063.
Thiaw agreed that there is a need to industrialise differently and build on green economy through sustainable consumption and production models in Africa.

Other discussions that emerged centred around youth unemployment which was highlighted in several of Mr. Thiaw’s high-level meetings as an all-pervasive challenge and one which must be linked to a modernised agricultural sector as well as the importance of energy and infrastructure.
The sectors would be crucial drivers of Africa’s economic transformation, said Mr. Thiaw.

Outlining his vision for new and exciting development opportunities that would emerge from green investments, he proposed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between UNEP and the African Union Commission on sustainable energy, among other collaborative efforts.

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