The aim of the gathering was to pursue Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan’s vision to develop a low carbon economy and create a ‘Delta State beyond oil’. The roundtable provided an opportunity to present the green economy initiative to the business community and showcase its relevance through case studies.
Experts including Soma Mukerji of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, Adesola Adesanya of Sorte Forte Group, and George Okolo of the Management and Economic Development Associates, gave insight into the global green economy initiative, and discussed how SMEs can benefit from a low carbon economy to grow their businesses and create ‘green’ jobs.
Mr Uduaghan gave an overview of the Delta Government Green Economy Initiative and US Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s R20 initiative, which aims to fast track the results of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, and encourage national governments to take stronger and more rapid actions to fight climate change.
The ICC World Chambers Federation has partnered with the R20 (in close liaison with the ICC Commission on Environment and Energy) to reinforce the capacities of both governments and the private sector on low carbon energy projects at sub-national level, in both developing and emerging countries.
Through a series of local events and initiatives the project will underscore the vital role of chambers of commerce in helping SMEs to implement sustainable solutions in their operations, understand and make the most of the green economy and understand new business opportunities.
WCF Chair Rona Yircali will attend the official launch of the WCF-R20 partnership, which will take place at the upcoming Global Governors’ Climate Summit in Los Angeles next month.
Nigeria – along with Algeria, Canada, France and the US – is a founding member of the R20 and speaking at the roundatable, Mr Uduaghan gave assurance that the Delta State Government would focus on creating the right environment to encourage businesses to adopt green technologies in their operations.
“Moving to a low carbon economy is crucial to tackling climate change and ensuring our security, but it is also a transition that can provide opportunities to boost jobs, skills and investment,” Mr Uduaghan said.
Mr Uduaghan promised that the state government would provide the necessary incentives and support for SMEs, including the creation of a green loan scheme and other incentives for the implementation of green technology, energy efficient equipment and environmentally friendly mechanisms.
Other participants highlighted the crucial role of the private sector in transitioning to a low carbon economy and the challenges faced by SMEs.
The roundtable, which took place in Asaba, Nigeria on 6 October, concluded that political momentum and the right policy frameworks were key to helping scale up the deployment of carbon reducing measures and technologies.