United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Deputy Executive Director Ibrahim Thiaw met with former Senegalese President Abdou Diouf in Paris this month to discuss ways to scale up support to francophone countries, especially in Africa, as they transition to an inclusive green economy. Among the topics raised were the promotion of sustainable consumption and production, sustainable energy, green economy and the training of negotiators on climate change and other global issues.
These and other initiatives including sustainable public procurement, efficient use of resources in cities and best practices could be included in a proposed Memorandum of Understanding between UNEP and the Organisation international de la Francophonie (OIF), of which Mr. Diouf is the Secretary-General. UNEP and OIF agreed to work together to promote renewable energy development in OIF member states and to support sustainability in buildings and cities in those countries.
This could eventually lead to a special joint event during the OIF Summit in Dakar, Senegal, in November 2014, and at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties in Paris in 2015. In addition, UNEP and OIF recognized that the reform of fossil fuel subsidies would be a key lever to promote the uptake of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The parties also discussed cooperation on:
- Promoting sustainable consumption and production, including by building on the European Union’s SWITCH programmes for small and medium-sized enterprises;
- Supporting sustainable tourism in the context of the International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS);
- Training architects in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) Regional Building Code standards through the UNEP Sustainable Building and Climate Initiative;
- Supporting energy transition, and in particular revitalizing the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) Platform, set up by the OIF with French support;
- Supporting a network of Climate Focal Points in African countries; and
- Supporting the Observatory for Green Jobs in Nigeria.
Among other things, participants also raised the possibility of scaling up solar water heating systems across Africa. Finally, it was noted that OIF attaches a great importance to the cultural dimension of sustainable development.