In 2015, two milestones were achieved that set the world on track towards a future where economic growth would no longer be limited to growth statistics, but would also include the impact of economic activities on the environment and the society.
The two are the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Kenya was an important and reliable partner in both political processes.
The Kenyan ambassador to the United Nations, Mr Macharia Kamau, was instrumental in the successful negotiation of the 2030 agenda.
Kenya is committed to building an economy where social inclusion, environmental protection and poverty eradication are given equal priority to growth numbers.
This makes it an ideal partner for Germany, which believes that building a sustainable world where environmental protection is held in high esteem is a task that no country can achieve on its own.
We need to share solutions and lessons learned and inspire one another.
That is why we maintain close ties in development cooperation, climate change, environmental protection and biodiversity conservation.
It is against this backdrop that the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Nairobi launched the ‘German Embassy Green Economy Cycle (GEGEC)’ last year.
The initiative, which consists of a series of conferences and workshops, aims to stimulate dialogue between German and Kenyan experts to promote environmentally friendly and sustainable business practices in Kenya. This week, in cooperation with the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Kenya (AHK), we organised the umbrella conference under the GEGEC.
The conference, dubbed, ‘Kenya’s Pathway to a Green Economy’, was officially opened by Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu.
The timing could not have been any better as it coincides with a campaign spearheaded by the United Nations Environment Assembly to beat pollution in Kenya and in the world. We believe that Kenyan businesses have a critical role to play in not only reducing pollution, but preventing it.
This can be done by integrating environmental protection into everyday business practices.
Germany attaches paramount importance to the combination of theoretical and practical knowledge of science and business.
This is because neither scientists nor businesses have a monopoly of ideas. Each has a vital contribution to make.
Sharing experiences is essential in finding solutions that work for all.
The GEGEC brings together experts from industry, government, civil society and other decision and policy makers, including members of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa).
The involvement of the private sector is meant to promote the view that green economic practices are not only favourable for the environment, but also contribute to reducing costs for businesses.
Businesses that institute better waste management policies avoid litigation and risks, leading to higher profitability and stability.
Businesses that value environmental protection are also more likely to attract global investment as modern investors’ decisions are increasingly influenced by environmental, social and governance factors.
Kenya has made several policy changes to promote environmentally friendly practices.
Earlier in the year, it banned plastic bags. It also launched the Green Economic Strategy 2017, a blueprint outlining steps to cut carbon emissions and drive sustainable socio-economic transformation.
These measures point to commitment to involve all stakeholders, including the private sector, in environmental protection.
We have every confidence that Kenya will continue to be a reliable partner to Germany in tackling economic and ecological issues.
Ms Frasch is the German Ambassador to Kenya. [email protected]