The SWITCH Africa Green Networking Forum focusing on the theme ‘Advancing Circular Economy in Africa’, opened yesterday morning, in presence of the Minister of Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change, Mr Kavydass Ramano, at the Trianon Convention Centre. The Networking Forum, spanning over three days, is a joint collaboration of the Ministry and the United Nations Environment Programme.
The UN Resident Coordinator for Mauritius and Seychelles. Ms. Lisa Simrique Singh and the First Counsellor of the delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Mauritius, Mrs Florence Van Houtte, also graced the event.
In his address, the Environment Minister stated that the forum which is regrouping participants from the 7 pilot African countries, namely Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa and Uganda along with grantees from Europe and North Africa SWITCH programmes, and experts from various institutions and development partners, is a huge platform and opportunity for networking towards a common vision for a greener and sustainable planet.
The potential opportunities of the Regional Meeting, namely the sharing of knowledge and experiences; joining efforts for a transformative pathway for achieving sustainable development; and discussing the avenues for cooperation and collaborations among countries ; and creating synergies with emerging trends and explore workable mechanisms for facilitating access to finance and green investments, were underpinned by the Minister.
Furthermore, the Minister expressed his appreciation to the European Union for crafting the SWITCH initiative which he said, clearly demonstrates its commitment and determination to successfully attain the Sustainable Development Goals.
This unflinching support, stressed Mr Kavydass Ramano, has enabled Africa, as well as Mauritius, to leapfrog in many areas, most importantly in greening our economies and embarking on our journey for a circular economy model.
Speaking about the dire human, physical and economic impacts of climate change, its incidents and related projected scenarios, the Minister cautioned that these are urgent wake-up calls for us all to re-think our way of doing things and redefine our unsustainable modes of consumption and production which lie at the heart of these crises.
Therefore, ‘Switching’ to more sustainable production and consumption patterns with resource efficiency at its core has become a necessity, he remarked.
On her part, the UN Resident Coordinator for Mauritius and Seychelles. Ms. Lisa Simrique Singh, underlined that the SWITCH Africa Green programme has supported Africa’s transition to a green economy and assisted participating countries in their aspirations to achieving Sustainable Development Goals.
She emphasised that at a time when Member States of the UN are calling for closer collaboration among agencies, the programme stood out as a successful model of collaboration, while expressing gratitude to the EU for its financial support in the implementation of the project.
Ms. Lisa Simrique Singh also described the programme as an innovative and significant one, that has directly benefitted more than 300 micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs and directly benefited 10 000 beneficiaries.
In her final remarks, she renewed the UN’s commitment to support the Government of Mauritius and other African countries in taking forward their national vision for a greener and resilient country.