UNEP Regional Climate Change Coordinator Richard Munang
Nairobi - XINHUA
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on Saturday said that it will assist the African continent to transition towards a green economy.
UNEP Regional Climate Change Coordinator Richard Munang told Xinhua in Nairobi that his organization will provide human and institutional capacity to enable the continent embrace green economy initiatives.
"A green economy will provide jobs and sustainable livelihoods for millions in the continent," Munang said.
Most Africa states are heavily reliant on fossil fuels to power their economies.
Munang said that fossil fuels contribute to greenhouse gas emissions which have long-term environmental consequences.
He said that Africa contributes less than three percent of global carbon emissions, yet is the most vulnerable continent to the effects of climate change.
Munang added that the challenges that Africa faces today will not be overcome using old approaches.
"A green economy will provide new opportunities that will enable the region achieve its developmental goals," he said.
In July 2015, UNEP created the Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly to bring together stakeholders including policy makers, civil society and the youth to ensure that the environment is at the center of efforts to achieve food security.
The UN body will also help African states to domesticate approaches that work with nature.
"By embracing low emission development pathways, Africa will protect the environment which underpins most economic development activities," Munang said.
UNEP is already implementing a program to eliminate the generation of short-time pollutants due to health impacts of these emissions.
Estimates indicate that Africa loses 600,000 lives annually as a result of air pollutants.