The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the European Commission, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Republic of Senegal, organized a High-Level Regional Conference on ‘Circular Economy, Green Industries and Jobs in West Africa’ in Dakar, Senegal, on 22 and 23 July 2019.
The participants of this High-level Regional Conference advanced pathways to develop circular economy and green industries in West African countries.
They reaffirmed commitment to the relevant international agreements such as the UN's 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, and the African Union’s 2063 Agenda. They also recognized the need to make further progress with the implementation of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa 2016-2025 and Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs. In this context, they:
- Acknowledged and drew encouragement from the increasing role that green industries are already playing in improving resource efficiency, while decreasing pollution, creating jobs, driving innovation, diversifying economies, and thus paving the way for the broader transition to a circular economy in the region and more globally;
- Highlighted the fact that green industries and circular business are helping countries to achieve multiple objectives in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and attaining positive climate outcomes;
- Expressed concern about the alarming and increasing levels of waste generation and the challenges it brings, but acknowledged the potential of waste as a resource ;
- Emphasized the need to create enabling policy and financial frameworks and encourage innovation to facilitate the transition and reduce and even eliminate financial and other barriers that impede innovative, circular business practices and new business models for greening of MSMEs;
- Stressed the importance of MSMEs in the development of green industrial sectors and the broader circular economy;
- Recognized the need to raise awareness and promote new and sustainable production and consumption patterns through education at every level for a better future of our children, youth and societies;
- Underlined the catalytic role of public-private partnerships and international cooperation in the areas of policy development, innovation, infrastructure, sustainable finance and industrial parks and economic zones in supporting green industries and overall transition to a circular economy.
Against this background, they aimed to:
- Strengthen engagement on circular economy and green industries, including through regional, continental and multilateral frameworks and through the promotion of the quality infrastructure, norms and standards.
- Support analytic research about the benefits and possible trade-offs of the green industries and circular economy practices;
- Reinforce bilateral, regional and international cooperation to operationalize circular economy and green industrial development through exchanges on best practice policies and governance frameworks;
- Collaborate and build up capacity of the financial institutions to scale-up investments in green industries and wider circular economy activities;
- Facilitate business-to-business and value chain collaboration in the areas of product designs, resource efficiency and cleaner production methods, sustainable materials, water, energy and waste management systems and technologies;
- Promote collaboration for the uptake of circular business practices in the economic sectors; for the development of dedicated industrial parks and economic zones to support new sector development; for the growth of sustainable cities and sustainable infrastructure development;
- Intensify research and innovation partnerships, facilitate the transfer of environmentally sound and socially inclusive technologies and the role of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as a major enabler for green industries and circular economies.
They expressed appreciation to the Government of Senegal, the European Commission, ECOWAS and UNIDO for co-hosting this Conference.
24 July 2019