17 Aug 2018 Press release Green economy

African countries, China launch joint environmental effort with plans for new center based in Nairobi

Nairobi, 17 August 2018 –Today delegates from 53 African countries and China took the next step towards greater environmental progress under the framework of South-South Cooperation with the inauguration of the interim secretariat for a new China-Africa Environmental Cooperation Center to be based in Nairobi.

When it’s completed, the Center will provide a platform for capacity development, technical support, environmental policy dialogue and mobilization of funds for environmental projects and programmes.

First envisioned during the 6th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) leaders from China and Africa agreed to set up the China-Africa Environmental Cooperation Center as a forum for environmental policy interaction and dialogue.

With UN Environment as a facilitator to the interim secretariat the Center aims to become a platform for capacity development in support of environmental policy and best practice to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The principles that will guide this center will be transparency, inclusiveness, and effectiveness,” said Deputy Executive Director of UN Environment, Joyce Msuya. “And in these three principles, we hope to engage with all the stakeholders that are involved, including the member state, to guide us, to support us, but also to make the center quite effective.”

As a facilitating mechanism to support implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and Africa’s Agenda 2063, the Center intends to complement existing initiatives through enhanced partnership between China and African countries, private sector, research institutions, and intergovernmental organizations.

“In a world facing severing environmental challenges, such as pollution, climate change and ecological deterioration, environmental governance is playing an increasingly essential role,” said H.E Ms. Sun Baohong, Ambassador of China to the Republic of Kenya. “The China-Africa Environmental Cooperation Center will focus on SSC on environmental issues and adhere to the principles on the Rio declaration on environment and development.”

Leaders gathered for the ceremony spoke of their vision of the Center which will serve as a catalyst for joint environmental programs and project development.

“This is our handshake between Africa, China and UN Environment,” said Mr. Tom Amolo, political and diplomatic secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya. “To put things in place that will enable us to realize the objectives of taking care of our environment.”

Key partners to the initiative currently include member countries of the African Union and the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment.

With the launch and inauguration of the interim secretariat, UN Environment will support a task team to facilitate the preparations for the formal establishment of the Center.

A formal announcement of the establishment of the Center is expected to be made during the Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to be held in September 2018 in Beijing, China.


About UN Environment

UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages 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. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, the civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world. 

For more information, please contact:

Keith Weller, UN Environment Head of News and Media, [email protected]