Ministers of Environment from Africa on Friday agreed to support a comprehensive green recovery plan to boost economies and social systems aimed at building back better from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This is contained in a ministerial statement issued at the end of the eighth special session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) in Nairobi, Kenya

Representatives of the 54 African governments re-affirmed their commitment to enhance environmental resilience as well as protect and sustainably use natural resources for the region’s development.

The high-level ministerial regional conference held virtually under the theme “Enhancing Environmental Action for Effective Post-COVID Recovery in Africa”, further called to accelerate the protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems as part of an effort to sustainably build back African economies from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Barbara Creecy, minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries of South Africa and President of AMCEN, said: “Whilst this pandemic is having a profound negative impact on sustainable development and our efforts to combat environmental degradation and eradicate poverty, it also presents opportunities to set our recovery on a path of transformative sustainable development.”

The African Green Stimulus Programme seeks to address, in a sustainable manner, the devastating socio-economic and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and to, more importantly, harness the opportunities which this approach brings for the Continent,” she added.

The participants noted the importance of policies and programmes linking public health, pollution abatement, climate action, biodiversity conservation, ecosystems integrity, socio-economic equity, and prosperity for effective recovery from COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.