Environmental experts from EAC member states have called upon government institutions in the regional bloc to play a key role in the implementation of the green economy.
The call was made yesterday at the opening of a regional workshop on the role of the regulatory bodies in ensuring a green economy.
The workshop, that is underway in Kigali, was organised by UN Environment Programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.
Wikipedia describes a green economy as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.
In an interview, Kofi Vondolia, a consultant on green economy at UNEP, said misconception remains a major hindrance towards the transition to a green economy in most African countries.
He called for hosting of various formal debates on green economy to iron out the misconceptions, leading to easy implementation.
“In my view, I think in Africa, there is still a lack of capacity for the transition to green economy because most African countries don’t have coherent national frameworks to guide this transition,” Kofi said.
He also urged regulatory bodies in East Africa to coordinate with their international partners, to formulate implementable policies to ensure green economy among regional states.
Kofi noted that UNEP provides micro economic assessments which would help in identifying key sectors that a given country in Africa can adopt to advance the transition to green economy.
Damien Nindorera, from the National Institute for Environment and Nature Conservation of Burundi, called for further mass sensitisation drives of the concept.
“It’s imperative for all governments to carry out sensitisation campaigns among the population in order to clearly understand the importance of green economy,” Nindorera said.
On her part, Dr Rose Mukankomeje, the Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), said that green economy is a vehicle towards sustainable development.
“The challenge we face as developing countries is the imbalance of natural resource use,” Mukankomeje said.
She added that Rwanda recently adopted a national strategy on climate change and low carbon growth which is part of the green economy.
Caroline Kayonga, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, stressed the importance of the workshop towards keeping a green economy, especially in Africa.
“In Rwanda, 80 percent derive their main income from agriculture and it’s evident that our national economies depend enormously on our environment and natural resources,” Kayonga said.
She noted that it was imperative and urgent that the country moves towards a green economy through orienting businesses and investments towards green procurement and green trade initiatives among national processes.