In line with the principle of sustainable development, the green growth paradigm responds to the need for a new model of growth that is much less intensive in natural resources and that can lead to social well-being and poverty reduction in Africa. A major challenge in moving towards sustainable development is to balance and coordinate different interest: between economic growth/job creation and environmental integrity, between the rich and the poor, and between the present and the future generations. A green economy, by turning environmental imperatives into viable economic activities, helps reconcile the need for economic growth and the need to ensure the environmental basis for continued growth into the future. The green economy can contribute to the achievement of the MDG especially the achievement of the poverty eradication.
The Climate Change, Development & Adaptation Programme (CC DARE) jointly implemented by UNEP and UNDP and funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is using technical and financial assistance to respond to nationally defined needs of UN member states. The programme approach is premised on using timely, flexible and targeted actions which constitute a true recipe of a fiscal stimulus that offers the opportunity for triggering bigger actions within the bigger framework of national development in Africa. Using this approach in the continent has shown its appropriateness on how best to realize a low-carbon, resource efficient economy for the 21st century. The uniqueness of the programme to kick off and rollout self-driven national actions using technical and financial backstopping in overcoming immediate and urgent capacity gaps is creating an enabling environment which is most needed in spurring and fostering the green economy in the African continent and beyond. The peculiarity of the funding approach used by CC DARE is a stunning-truetestament that even with smaller funds, activities can still be implemented especially where they serves as a stimulus of targeted actions that foster green growth and remove barriers to bigger actions.
Effective green growth requires an enabling environment - one that grants the poor citizens the rights, resources and access they need to sustain and benefit from markets, natural resources amongst others. A key lesson from decades of development experience is the importance of creating appropriate policies and effective institutions at all levels to support people-centered, sustainable development, green growth. The lesson is important to apply to the green economy, given the significant overlap between the green economy and development and of course the achievement of the Millennium development goals. Granting the citizens resource rights, representation in governance processes, participation rights and fair access to markets can build the resilience of communities and help them to shift towards a sustainable economy while at the same time adapting to the changing climate. The CC DARE approach of engaging different actors/players through national and subnational levels have helped in the mobilization of national interest, national governments, civil societies which have helped created the type of enabling environment needed for the green economy in Africa. The simplified, practical, easy to implement approach utilized by this programme has shown that tackling multiple developmental needs; opportunities could emerge from the actions that fosters green growth.
Africa’s valuable natural capital assets are critical to wealth creation, vital for its economies, and essential for poverty reduction and sustainable development. In addition, such resources are of global importance, playing a key role in the conservation and sustainable use of the earth’s biological resources, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
African governments recognise increasingly that investments in green economic sectors, ecosystem restoration and the nurturing of natural capital can be instrumental in halting environmental degradation and also create green jobs, secure sustainable livelihoods and contribute to poverty reduction and green growth.
Africa faces particular challenges, given that it suffers from so many development challenges already, which some fear may be made worse by trying to keep pace with the global "green" drive. The sheer weight of funding and initiatives are good reason to believe something positive may emerge from the hysteria about the world’s condition. The expectation is that Africa will benefit from new investment in technologies and infrastructure that will improve the quality and sustainability of growth.
Two of the most serious problems attributed to climate change, deforestation and land degradation, are caused largely by unchecked commercial exploitation, rural energy needs and poor farming practices.
With all the hype about climate change, it is easy to forget the size and complexity of the challenges and the effect all of this may have on growth. A continent already hobbled by capacity constraints now faces a future filled with more complex policy challenges as countries are pushed to restructure their economies to fall in line with this global trend.