Achieving a green economy: a call to action
Having recently attended the 4thGreen Growth Conference and Exhibition 2018 themed , it is evident that there is need for us as a country to move with speed and fast track the implementation of the Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan (GESIP). The strategy focuses on five building blocks which include promoting sustainable Infrastructure, resource efficiency, building resilience, sustainable natural resource management, social inclusion and sustainable livelihoods.
From the conference, various stakeholders brought out pertinent issues that touch on green growth. Plans to streamline sectors such as transport, agriculture, manufacturing, energy, water and financing for green growth have been put in place.
To begin with, adopting sustainable agriculture practices will enhance food security over time. Farmers are moving from over reliance of rain fed agriculture to irrigation, planting of drought resistant crops, use of organic fertilizer, adoption of value addition practices to minimize post-harvest losses, use of technology to increase yields and market their produce. Another notable milestone is the shift to hydroponic systems which produce more yields in less time and space.
In manufacturing, industries are slowly embracing energy efficiency practices. There has been a rise in the use of renewable energy which is contributing to tackling greenhouse gas emissions. The demand for briquettes, solar, biogas and wind energy has seen a shift from fossil fuels which are more harmful to the environment. Energy and water audits have helped in streamlining how industries use their energy and manage their waste water.
The Centre for Energy Efficiency and Conservation (CEEC) has conducted over 1000 energy audits and 20 water audits across the country. The audits in Small Medium Enterprises are conducted free of charge thus making it easier for the businesses to put energy and water efficiency systems.
In the transport sector, the GESIP (2016-2030) proposes that the infrastructure needs to be climate proofed and this can only be achieved by developing and implementing certification standards for green buildings and capacity building programmes for the architects, engineers and contractors. Infrastructure development is one of the key foundations of Vision 2030 and it cuts across various sectors such as transport, energy, agriculture, housing and construction, waste management, water and sanitation.
The mainstreaming of the green economy in planning and budgeting processes at national and county levels as stipulated in the MTPIII (2018-2022) is needed to facilitate implementation. Transitioning to a green economy will require a significant amount of financing. The GESIP estimates that the country needs at least KSh.23 billion to increase investments in the green economy.
The government alone cannot fund the green agenda therefore the private sector needs to step in and invest in the various sectors that will contribute to achieving the green economy. The concerned parties may need to consider easing the terms to accessing financing for businesses that promote the adoption of greener technologies.
It is crucial that entrepreneurs who contribute to green innovations are supported if the adoption and transfer of green technologies is to become a reality. The Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) is playing its role in contributing to the green growth agenda by catalyzing innovations that address climate change. Over the past five years, KCIC has incubated more than 200 enterprises and provided business advisory services, access to information, access to facilities, access to financing through proof of concept grants and the Early Stage Finance Mechanism to the enterprises.
Investing and supporting companies such as Corec that recycle waste into building materials could probable solve housing challenges in informal settlements considering that Nairobi alone produces three metric tonnes of waste every day.
Creation of green jobs will help reduce poverty and contribute to innovations that will help us in transitioning to a green economy. There is need to translate the dialogue and policy into action. The public, civil society, private sector, national and county government need to work together towards pushing for a green economy.
By Mercy Mumo