On Wednesday, African ministers ended a three-day African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) meeting in Nairobi, Kenya by embracing the concept of implementing innovative environmental solutions.
"We are going to start empowering innovators; the private sector; micro, small and medium enterprises; and civil society to use new approaches to address environmental challenges in our own countries," Nezha El Ouafi, Morocco's minister of environment and vice-president of AMCEN, stated.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) said the environment is central to human health, explaining that almost 12.6 million people die from hidden risks in the environment annually.
“It is important to note that environment is the foundation and the basis of the social and economic development of our countries,” Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko remarked on behalf of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. “I challenge you to come up with ways of enhancing the wealth from our rich biodiversity in forests, rangelands, wildlife and marine resources.”
The ministers agreed to enhance capacity building of human capital to achieve sustainable development in Africa, as well as stressed that adaptation and finance should be core elements for effective operationalization of the outcomes of the COP24 climate change agreement.
"Public-private sector partnership will have to play a key role in embracing innovation and turning environmental policies into concrete actions to achieve the objectives of the African Union Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," the collective statement from the ministers declared.
The group also urged the UN Environment Assembly and the UN Environment to increase support to African countries as well as facilitate access to future innovative partnerships.
"We intend to develop common positions on various priority issues and speak with one voice during the upcoming 2018 UN Biodiversity Conference which will be held in Egypt in November 2018,” the group of environment representatives stressed.
The theme of the AMCEN summit, which ran from Sept. 17-19, was “Turning environmental policies into action through environmental solutions.”