The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) says it has honoured 27 Africans on trailblazing eco-enterprises, ahead of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that would be adopted in September.
This is contained in a statement issued from the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi and made available to our correspondent on-online in Abuja on Wednesday.
The statement said that the 27 trailblazing eco-enterprises awardees were recognised at the 2015 SEED Africa Symposium in Nairobi for employing business models that brought social and environmental benefits to local communities.
It was gathered that SEED was founded in 2002 by UNEP, UN Development Programme (UNDP) and International Union for
Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to contribute towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The initiative was founded to contribute to MDGs and the commitments made at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development.
SEED identifies profiles and supports innovative, locally-driven start-up enterprises that integrate social, environmental and economic benefits into their business models at the outset.
Based in developing countries, the enterprises work in partnership with stakeholders to improve livelihoods, tackle poverty and marginalisation and manage natural resources sustainably.
According to the statement, the SEED awards recognise innovative social and environmental start-up enterprises whose businesses help to meet sustainable development challenges.
“By helping them to scale-up their activities, SEED aims to boost local economies and tackle poverty, while promoting the sustainable use of resources and ecosystems.
“The 2015 SEED Awards have a special focus on Africa, with 25 awards given to enterprises in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
“A further two SEED Gender Equality Awards go to women-led enterprises that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment as their core objectives.’’
In addition to a financial contribution, the statement said that every SEED Award Winner would receive technical assistance, free access to different supporting institutions, and tailor-made support to develop their business and skills.
The statement said that they would also join a network of more than 200 enterprises that received the award so far.
“ This year’s awardees have demonstrated how renewable energy and new technologies can drive community-led sustainable development.
“This year’s applications saw contributions from 55 countries, representing the collaborative efforts of partnerships between enterprises, non-governmental organisations, women’s and youth groups, labour organisations, public authorities, international agencies, and academia.
“Most of the applications were in agricultural and rural development, energy and climate change, and ecosystem management.
“Many entries at the same time involved Information Technology applications, and education and training.’’
The statement quoted Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General, UNEP Executive Director, as saying: “the winners of this year’s SEED Awards are mapping the road toward a sustainable future, and signposting the way to a fully-fledged green economy.
“Innovative enterprises like theirs demonstrate the tangible benefits of a low-carbon, resource-efficient approach to economic growth to communities, investors and partners.
“Their work exemplifies the green economy transition that will help realise the SDGs and the climate agenda to be agreed on this year,” the statement quoted Steiner as saying.
The statement further quoted Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator as saying, that “across the African continent, local enterprises are tackling extreme poverty, environmental degradation and social exclusion.
“The 2015 SEED Winners are examples of what can happen when local ingenuity meets innovative partnerships.
“They offer a new, powerful paradigm for sustainable development and green growth based on community empowerment and the collective will for social change.”