African nations commit to green recovery plan
Ministers of environment in Africa have agreed to support a comprehensive green recovery plan to boost economies and social systems in post-coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement issued at the weekend at the closing of the eighth special session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), representatives of the 54 African governments re-affirmed their commitment to enhancing environmental resilience as well as protecting and sustainably using natural resources for the region’s development.
During the regional conference that was held virtually under the theme “Enhancing environmental action for effective post-COVID recovery in Africa”, participants further called for action to accelerate the protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems, as part of an effort to sustainably build back African economies from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries of South Africa and President of AMCEN, Barbara Creecy, said: “Whilst this pandemic is having a profound negative impact on sustainable development and our efforts to combat environmental degradation and eradicate poverty, it also presents opportunities to set our recovery on a path of transformative sustainable development.
“The African Green Stimulus Programme seeks to address, in a sustainable manner, the devastating socio-economic and environmental impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to, more importantly, harness the opportunities which this approach brings for the continent.”
The ministers noted the importance of policies and programmes linking public health, pollution abatement, climate action, biodiversity conservation, ecosystems integrity, socio-economic equity, and prosperity for an effective recovery from COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.
The ministers recommended that an effective recovery strategy from COVID-19 pandemic is essential, and it can present opportunities to further mainstream environmental considerations across all facets of African economies, striving towards a more environmentally friendly, resilient, low-emissions and inclusive sustainable development.