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Climate Change
Climate Change
UNEP is focusing on both mitigation and adaptation and the objective is to strengthen the ability of countries in integrating climate change responses into national development processes. More

Disasters and Conflicts
Disasters and conflicts in Africa
The objective is to minimize environmental threats to human well-being arising from the environmental causes and consequences of conflicts and disasters More

Ecosystem Management
Ensuring the holistic management of land, water and living resources to promote conservation and sustainable use. More

Environmental Governance
Strengthening Global, Regional, national and local Environmental governance to address agreed environmental priorities. More

Chemicals and Waste
Minimising impacts of Harmful Substances and Hazardous Waste on the environment and people More

Resource Efficiency
Promoting Resource efficiency and Reducing adverse impacts of consumption and production. More

Environment Under Review
The Environment Under Review sub programme aims to contribute to sustainable development and improved well-being through empowering stakeholders at global, regional and national levels. It aims to do this by providing open web platforms, services and access to timely, substantiated knowledge about the environment and emerging issues and by strengthening capacities to make use of substantiated knowledge in decision-making.

Regional News

Senegal joins the Partnership for Action on Green Economy
Dakar, 18 November 2014 - Up to half a million people could be lifted out of poverty and 30,000 new jobs created in Senegal, with a switch to a Green Economy, according to a new report released today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Green Economy Scoping Study for Senegal (Le Rapport Exploratoire sur l'Economie Verte) was presented at a high-profile event to launch the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), a United Nations initiative that will assist the implementation of green economy policies in Senegal.

"The findings of this study show the enormous opportunity that a green economy transition represents, and that investing further in the environment can support Senegal's development process, without jeopardizing our future growth," said Mr. Abdoulaye Balde, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development in Senegal.

Huge potential for job creation and poverty reduction

The report was prepared by UNEP in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the Centre of Policy Studies for Development under the Ministry of Economy and Finances of Senegal. It finds that increased investment will lead to higher growth, more jobs, and better environmental outcomes than similar investments into business-as-usual (BAU) sectors.

In the report, GDP is estimated to be 11 per cent higher under a green economy scenario by 2035, compared to a BAU scenario. This increased growth leads to a substantial reduction in poverty, with less than 20 per cent of the population in poverty by 2035, compared to 24 per cent in the BAU scenario. This is the equivalent of lifting 500,000 people out of poverty.

In Senegal, agriculture employs 56.7 per cent of the total population. Improvements in production in this sector will, therefore, have a large effect on the economy. Green investments in sustainable agriculture technologies and techniques will prevent soil degradation and lead to an increase in agricultural production 0.5-1.25 per cent higher than BAU by 2035.

In other sectors, such as energy, green investments are expected to bring about an increase in employment. In the renewable energy sector, increased investment could create up to 30,000 new jobs.

A green economy transition also has positive environmental impacts. In terms of CO2, emissions are anticipated to be about 9 per cent lower in green economy scenarios than under BAU (26.7 million tonnes). In addition, improvements are expected in water quality, reduced soil pollution and improved waste management.

Senegal joins PAGE

The event in Dakar also marks the start of the PAGE initiative in Senegal. The initiative unites the expertise of UNEP, International Labour Organization, United Nations Institute for Training and Research, United Nations Industrial Development Organization and United Nations Development Programme, and will promote green industry, trade and jobs, as well as research and institutional capacity building on the green economy.

"The Partnership of Action for Green Economy is a model example of the United Nations System 'delivering as one' to support countries' move to greener development paths. With five UN organizations working together, the government of Senegal is receiving a coordinated and complementary service, leveraging the expertise of these different agencies," said Mrs Bintou Djibo, UN Resident Coordinator in Senegal.

Media Contacts

Shereen Zorba, Head of News and Media, UNEP Division of Communication and Public Information, Tel. +254 788 526 000. Email: unepnewsdesk@unep.org

Moira O'Brien-Malone, Head, Communications, UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, Tel: + 33 1 44 37 76 12 or mobile +33 6 82 26 93 73. Email: moira.obrien-malone@unep.org

Note to editors

The Partnership for Action on Green Economy is a partnership between UNEP, ILO, UNDP, UNITAR, and UNIDO. It was created in response to the Rio +20 Conference, which called on the United Nations to support interested countries in their transition to greener and more inclusive economies.

Senegal was admitted into PAGE after the inaugural global conference of the PAGE initiative in March 2014 in Dubai. A scoping mission was then carried out by the PAGE agencies from the 2 to 5 June 2014 in Dakar. The mission involved consultations with various stakeholders and resulted in the formulation of a draft action plan.

About UNEP

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the voice for the environment in the UN system. Established in 1972, UNEP's mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

UNEP is an advocate, educator, catalyst and facilitator promoting the wise use of the planet's natural assets for sustainable development. It works with many partners, UN entities, international organizations, national governments, non-governmental organizations, business, industry, the media and civil society. UNEP's work involves providing support for: environmental assessment and reporting; legal and institutional strengthening and environmental policy development; sustainable use and management of natural resources; integration of economic development and environmental protection; and promoting public participation in environmental management.

Leading African Activist Wins Top UN Environmental Prize for Inspiration and Action
Fatima Jibrell becomes Somalia’s First “Champion of the Earth” for her efforts to end Illegal Charcoal Trade and Protect Somalia’s Pastoral Way of Life
Nairobi, 7 November 2014 – Fatima Jibrell, one of Africa’s leading environmental activists was announced Friday as the first Somali to win the UN’s top environmental accolade, the Champion of the Earth award.

Stirred by the devastation caused by the civil war in Somalia, Jibrell founded the Horn of Africa Relief and Development Organization in 1991, now known as Adeso – a non-profit organization operating in South Sudan, Somalia and Northern Kenya – to bring environmental and social justice to war-torn regions and communities.

Her work has been instrumental in ending the charcoal trade in Northeastern Somalia, which had been decimating the region’s acacia tree population. Through Adeso’s Pastoralist Youth Program thousands of young people - 80 per cent of whom are girls - have been equipped with new skills to better conserve environmental resources and to become more self-reliant, through enhanced rural livelihoods and peace.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said, “I am delighted to announce Fatima Jibrell as a Champion of the Earth. She is driven by the belief that community-led change is the key route to a more prosperous, peaceful, and environmentally sound future and a key driver of environmental change.”

“For the last twenty years, Jibrell has mobilized local and international resources to protect Somalia’s pastoral way of life and the fragile environment upon which so many livelihoods depend. In particular, Jibrell has fought tirelessly against the charcoal trade, which has decimated ancient acacia trees in Somalia.”

“Her courage and commitment to fight for environmental and social justice under the most distressful of circumstances shines light on the resilience of the human spirit and the difference one person can make to bring about positive change and hope to communities at large,” he added.

Fatima Jibrell said, “I am honoured to receive this award. It’s really going to raise the profile of the work that Adeso continues to do in many parts of East Africa.”

“Empowering communities to responsibly conserve and manage their natural resource base - such as the acacia tree and rangelands in the case of Northeastern Somalia - is instrumental to enhancing rural livelihoods. This award provides us with even more motivation to continue striving for peace and prosperity in conflict prone communities. Hopefully it will also bring more attention and resources to support the preservation of Somalia’s natural environment.”

As a result of Jibrell's lobbying and education efforts, the Puntland government in 2000 prohibited the exportation of charcoal. The government has also since enforced the ban, which has reportedly led to an 80 per cent drop in exports of the product.

Over the years, Adeso has helped over a million people through its humanitarian and development efforts. During the 2011-2012 famine in Somalia, Adeso reached over half a million people through unconditional cash transfers to allow them to meet their immediate food and non-food needs. Last year in Kenya, close to 15,000 people accessed tools, seeds and training to increase their land’s yield and feed their families.

Jibrell’s efforts to improve the livelihoods of local communities and to protect the fragile environments were recognized in 2002 when she was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. In 2007, she was awarded the National Geographic/Buffet Award for Leadership in African Conservation.

The award is the United Nations flagship environmental prize launched in 2005. It recognizes outstanding visionaries and leaders in the fields of policy, science, entrepreneurship, and civil society action.

Winners of UNEP's 2014 Champions of the Earth Award include:

H.E. Tommy Remengesau, Jr. President of Palau; H.E. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Sixth President of the Republic of Indonesia; Sir Robert Watson, eminent environmental scientist; Sylvia Earle, Ocean Explorer and Conservationist; the US Green Building Council; Boyan Slat, Founder of The Ocean Clean-up Initiative and Mario Molina, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and a leading scientist behind the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer.

The award covers the following categories: Policy Leadership, Entrepreneurial Vision, Lifetime Awardees, Science and Innovation, and Inspiration and Action.

Winners will be honoured by UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner at an awards ceremony attended by UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Gisele Bundchen at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. on 19 November 2014.

For more information on UNEP’s Champions of the Earth visit http://www.unep.org


Powering Africa’s Long Term Economic Growth through Robust Investments in Geothermal Energy Development

Arusha, Tanzania 29 October, 2014 – Vice President of Tanzania, Dr. Mohamed Gharib Bilal calls on Africa and partners to use the potential of Geothermal in the region to catalyze the continent’s economic, social and environmental development aspirations.

He made the call at the opening of the Fifth African geothermal Conference (ARGeo-C5) attended by over 500 regional and international experts, policy makers, developers and financiers as well as institutions from Africa and across the world.

This three day conference hosted by the Government of Tanzania in Arusha, focuses on the theme “Geothermal: Solution to Africa Energy needs”, and is meant to explore solutions on how to mitigate the risks associated with resource exploration; attract private developers to fast track geothermal development; reduce lead times in developing geothermal projects; leverage investment to stimulate the growth of industry; and effectively develop, construct, and operate successful geothermal power plants.

Dr. Bilal said “It indisputable fact that sustainable and affordable energy supply is pivotal to realizing economic and social development. Renewable energies and specifically geothermal present a viable option towards diversification of the generation mix, thus increasing power supply reliability”. He added that “Despite being in the infancy stages of geothermal development, we shall step up all the existing efforts to empowering the geothermal sub sector in order to make sure that it contributes towards improving the overall energy sector so that eventually energy contribution to the country’s economic growth and the prosperity of our people as stipulated in our various development goals are achieved.” 

Hydropower currently provides 95% of the electricity in East Africa. But the capacity is frequently reduced by droughts, resulting in supply shortages and high fuel costs. At the same time, the East Africa Rift System (EARS) has a largely untapped geothermal resource potential suitable for power generation. The results of integrated geo-scientific studies carried out in the East Africa region for the last four decades provide an estimation of geothermal resource potential for power generation of about 20 GWe.

UNEP’s Representative and Regional Director for Africa, Mounkaila Goumandakoye said: “Africa has enormous natural resources and yet in many parts of the region, energy precariousness, high dependence on fossil fuels, weak energy sector, and low investments in clean energy which are impeding development prospects on other sector. Energy is a master key to prosperity and sustainable energy is the only way to connect poverty eradication, equitable economic growth and a healthy environment. The continent therefore needs to shift towards clean, efficient, reliable and renewable sources of energy, and energy efficiency.” He added that “Geothermal energy now emerges as a prodigious opportunity for Africa’s electricity grid as demonstrated by recent projects in a growing number of countries.”


Tanzania, like most of the other countries in Africa has been experiencing erratic power supply mainly due to high dependence on hydro sources and fossil fuel thus making power supply system in the region prone to weather and oil price shocks. As part of creating conducive environment and mobilizing resources to fast track geothermal energy development, the government has established the Tanzania Geothermal Development Company Limited (TGDC), as a dedicated public entity to oversee the development and utilization of geothermal energy in the country. The government has also initiated various strategies including addressing policy, legal and regulatory framework, institutional arrangement and capacity building which hinder development and utilization of geothermal resource.

Kenya, with its vast geothermal resource potential estimated at 10, 000 We, has adopted a geothermal-based capacity expansion strategy to supplement hydropower, which despite contributing up to over fifty percent of the total electricity generated is highly vulnerable to the impacts of recurrent drought. In June, Kenya announced that it would install some 1,700 megawatts of geothermal capacity within the next 5 years - 150 percent of the country's total electricity generating capacity.

The country already hosts the largest geothermal power plant in Africa (Olkaria II) and has recently commissioned the construction of two geothermal power plants of 140 MW each at Olkaria IV and the new Olkaria I, and is currently generating a total of 573 MWe. Kenya is stepping up to lead the geothermal development in the region and to be one of the fastest growing geothermal markets in the world. In the context of its Vision 2030 meant to modernize the economy, the extensive use of energy from different sources is critical. The government is therefore investing considerable amount of resources into building up the country’s geothermal infrastructure in order to increase the power generation capacity from 1,100 MWe in 2010 to 15, 000 MWe in 2030, for an estimated investment of USD 45 billion. 

In Ethiopia, Aluto Langano the first’s geothermal pilot power plant is being expanded from 7 to 35, eventually 75 MWe and three more are in the pipeline with about 440 MWe by 2018, with the support from Reykjavik Geothermal Ltd, a private developer from Iceland. In Djibouti and  Eritrea, prospects are very promising. Djibouti plans to supply nearly all of its electricity needs through geothermal energy, with the help of the World Bank and other consortium of donors.

In other countries such as Uganda, Tanzania, Comoros, Zambia, Burundi,, the Democratic Republic of Congo,  which have not conducted test drillings to verify the commercial viability of their resources, successful developments are also foreseen on the basis of positive results from the exploratory activities, coupled with a strong commitment by governments, backed by international support and attractive grants. Yet this source of energy still presents huge challenges as exploratory costs are very high.

The $66 million African Union Commission (AUC) -German Development Bank (KfW) Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility for East Africa (GRMF)funded by  the European Union-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund, and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation, are the main partners which support geothermal studies and infrastructure development in Africa.

Through the ARGeo project, UNEP and the Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA) are closely collaborating to support and promote the development of geothermal resources in the East Africa Region. One particular area of cooperation has been the development of “ARGeo Geothermal Inventory Database-AGID”, a major initiative in which the Government of Iceland, through is providing technical advice and most of the financial provision, which is to be launched during this conference.

This ARGeo-C5 will showcase some of the unfolding success stories, equipment and services in the geothermal development, with the view to encouraging exploration from over parts of the continent. Accordingly, this conference will promote regional cooperation and provide an information exchange platform on exploration, development, investment and utilization of the geothermal resources in the region and elsewhere in the world.

Energy and Mines Ministers from the East African Region and regional directors of investment and development banks are also expected to participate in the Roundtable Ministerial Dialogue of the Conference in order to unlock develop a strategy on accelerating development of geothermal resources in the region.

Note to Editors:

Three Parallel short course training were held on 27-28 October as part of ARGeo-C5, focusing respectively on (a) Optimized Exploration, Data Management, Conceptual Modeling and Well Design and Planning; (b) Financing Geothermal Projects from Exploration Through Constructions, and (c) Drilling Technology Options in Geothermal Resource Exploration and Development.

The UNEP-ARGeo programme, through regional networking and information systems, assists member countries to organize the biennial regional geothermal conferences in coordination with other geothermal support partners, such as the Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA), the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), the Geothermal Development Company (GDC), the US Power Africa, the Geothermal Training Programme of the United Nations University (UNU-GTP), the African Union Commission (AUC), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the East African Regional Branch (EARB), and  the International Geothermal Association (IGA).

The African Rift Geothermal Development Facility (ARGeo) project implemented by UNEP was launched in 2010 in Djibouti to encourage public and private developers to accelerate the development of geothermal resource in the East African region, and reduce risks associated with the resources exploration, thereby reducing greenhouse gas (GHG). The project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The ARGeo project has so far achieved significant milestones. It has, among others, developed two project pipelines of Silali (Kenya) and Tendaho (Ethiopia), which will be used for future investment and development to be financed through AUC-KfW Geothermal Mitigation Facility and other developers. Two other projects have been earmarked for surface exploration studies in Alid (Eritrea) and Kibiro (Uganda). The project has also created a platform for regional networking and geothermal related information with focal points from 13 East African countries through the African Geothermal Inventory Database (AGID) and websites that attract investments. Furthermore, ARGeo has strengthened institutional and infrastructural capacities through trainings and hands on experience where more than 140  experts were trained in various aspects of geothermal science and technology; Part of this support includes continuous advice and technical support to create appropriate institutions and  momentum for fast-tracking geothermal development in the region, as was the case for the new Tanzanian Geothermal Development Company and Geothermal Resource Department in Uganda. 

The UNEP ARGeo Project has established partnership and synergy with key regional geothermal support programmes that include: (i) AUC Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility (GRMF) supported by KfW Entwicklungsbank (KfW); (ii) Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA) for the geothermal database, capacity building and surface exploration studies; and (iii) German Federal Institute of Geosciences and Natural resources (BGR) for regional networking and capacity building.

More information on the ARGeo project is available on: http://theargeo.org/

For interviews contact:

Meseret  Zemedkun, Program Manager; Tel. +254 20 762 5634; Meseret.Zemedkun@unep.org


Moses Mbego; Tel. +254 20 762 1392; Moses.Mbego@unep.org


For more information, please contact Angele Luh, Regional Information Officer for Africa; Tel: +254-20 762 4292; Angele.Luh@unep.org

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