Green Growth Remains Key to Secure Sustainable Dev’t in Africa, says ECA

ADDIS ABEBA –  Regional forum is set to explore inclusive green growth as a sustainable path to Africa’s development amid doubts over the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under current trajectory.

“Current growth trajectories suggest that many countries will fail to achieve the SDGs by the 2030 deadline,” said Jean-Paul Adam, Director of Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resource Management at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), on Tuesday.

The director underscored the importance of “reconstructing our socioeconomic systems by leveraging opportunities presented by green and low carbon development trajectories with a view to building a resilient, inclusive and sustainable Africa”.

Climate change is projected by the African Climate Policy Center of the ECA to cost African countries between 2 and 5 percent of GDP by 2030.

In addition, the UN regional agency said the continent lost about 3.9 million hectares of forests each year – higher than any other continent – between 2010 and 2020, posing challenges for many.

“If we are to leave no one behind, a whole-of-society approach is needed together with concerted and ambitious efforts to transform our world during the 10-year window provided by the decade of action to deliver on the SDGs, Adam said.

It is against this backdrop that ECA’s annual Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD2021) will take place between March 1 and 4, 2021.

COVID-19 crisis

This year’s discussion will revolve under a theme ‘Building forward better: towards a resilient and green Africa to achieve the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063′ as a hybrid event, given ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, according to the ECA’s statement.

The pandemic continues to unmask and exacerbate deeply entrenched vulnerabilities, gaps, and inequalities within countries, the statement said.

In Africa, it has severely tested countries’ social, economic, political, and environmental resilience, exacting a massive toll on the poor and most vulnerable and jeopardizing decades of hard-won development gains.

“The COVID-19 crisis is playing out against the backdrop of hitherto unseen climate change and biodiversity loss,” said Adam.

The Climate crisis should not be treated as distinct from the health and economic crises instigated by the pandemic because “the three crises and their solutions are interconnected”, ECA’s top official on climate change and resource management stressed.

The forum serves as a platform for follow-up and review of progress and challenges in the implementation of the two Agendas, while strengthening learning and advocating effective policy measures and actions, according to the ECA.