Africa is a vast land of hope with rich natural and cultural resources, biodiversity, and a prosperous young population. At the same time, it is facing huge economic and environmental challenges that may jeopardize its efforts toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially those on poverty eradication and food security. Fourteen years after the adoption of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the African people made a firm commitment in 2015 to act together towards a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development, as the first of their aspirations for “Agenda 2063 – The Future We Want for Africa.” China-Africa cooperation has been greatly reinforced with a new type of strategic partnership since 2006, as reflected in the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Action Plan (2019-2021). UNEP-IEMP helps to share development experiences and resources between China and the African continent. Together, China is going to play a significant role in achieving Agenda 2063, in particular with fuel from the Belt and Road Initiative.
With the aim of enhancing China-Africa cooperation, UNEP-IEMP will work to facilitate the development of integrated solutions that address both economic and environmental challenges to ensure the transformation and sustainable development of Africa. Cross-cutting issues that take into account regional priorities will be deeply explored, such as agricultural development and food security in the Nile and Zambezi river basins, dryland management in the Sahel region, and protected area sustainable management in East Africa. It is also likely that knowledge and experience in Africa can benefit China’s blueprint for an “ecological civilization.”
Currently, this Africa portfolio mainly covers three regions (the Sahel region, the Zambezi river basin, and the area upstream of the Nile basin) and has landed in 10 African countries, namely Mauritania, Senegal, Seychelles, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
Key actions that need to be taken under the portfolio include:
Facilitating collaboration research projects between Chinese and African scientists to develop innovative and integrative solutions towards achieving the SDGs and the Paris Agreement;
Promoting exchange of technologies and young talents between China and Africa to enhance the capacity of researchers and practitioners to address sustainable development issues in Africa;
Organizing the Conference on Climate Ecosystems and Livelihoods for Africa to bring scientific support to policy makers within China-Africa collaboration.