Ouagadougou, 14-16 December 2016 - The Government of Burkina Faso hosted its first ever National Academy for Green Economy with support from the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), the Poverty and Environment Initiative, Switch Africa Green and the Global Green Growth Initiative.
The National Academy for Green Economy brought together relevant national and international stakeholders to discuss the role of green economy in Burkina Faso, as related to sustainable trade opportunities, sustainable production and consumption, poverty alleviation and green jobs, among other topics. High-level decision makers, including the Minister of Environment, Green Economy and Climate Change, as well as representatives from the private sector and international and local NGOs participated in the three day event.
Burkina Faso, a country with a growing population of roughly 17 million, faces a series of issues related to trade and environment, including widespread poverty, limited rural access to electricity — at less than 5% — and a heavy reliance on agricultural exports, with this sector employing 90% of the work force. As such, Burkina Faso faces high vulnerability to external climactic and economic shocks. Through its capacity for sustainable policy implementation and coordination, PAGE aims to assist policymakers in Burkina Faso to overcome these challenges by supporting the transition towards a green economy.
Panel members, including the Minister of Environment, Green Economy and Climate Change (center) lead a discussion on green economy at the National Academy in Burkina Faso.
On the second day of the event, UN Environment’s Environment and Trade Hub led a thematic session entitled “Sustainable Trade and the Green Economy,” sharing expertise on linkages between the two. The session was attended primarily by representatives from the Ministry of Trade and the Ministry of Economy, as well as members of private sector and civil society. Discussions focused on the ability of sustainable trade to offer benefits to the economy, emphasizing the important role of trade agreements such as the Environmental Goods Agreement and highlighting opportunities deriving from the certification of agricultural products. Key national-level recommendations from the session included: to promote the cultivation of certified products, such as organic cotton, sugar and mangoes; to undertake an inventory of market potential for non-timber forestry products (NTFPs); to regulate access to NTFPs in order to further develop the sector; and to raise public awareness of solar energy potential.
Other thematic sessions covered topics such as the greening of the forestry sector and the role of REDD+, climate change and green economy, and greening industry, amongst others. The Academy concluded with an interactive and consultative session, providing the opportunity for key stakeholders to brainstorm priorities, challenges and strategies for implementing a green economy agenda in Burkina Faso.
UN Environment, through PAGE and the Environment and Trade Hub, seeks to continue to engage with policymakers in Burkina Faso to provide guidance and assistance in further developing sectors with potential for sustainable trade.
Materials from the National Academy can be found here.