Sustainable Development

NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - A new  report by the United Nations shows that financing challenges are at the heart of the world’s sustainable development crisis – as staggering debt burdens and sky-high borrowing costs prevent developing countries from responding to the confluence of crises they face. Only a massive surge of financing, and a reform of the international financial architecture can rescue the Sustainable Development Goals.
The 2024 Financing for Sustainable Development Report: Financing for Development at a Crossroads (FSDR 2024) says urgent steps are needed to mobilise financing at scale to close the development financing gap, now estimated at USD 4.2 trillion annually, up from USD 2.5 trillion before the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, rising geopolitical tensions, climate disasters and a global cost-of-living crisis have hit billions of people, battering progress on healthcare, education, and other development targets.

“This report is yet another proof of how far we still need to go and how fast we need to act to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” said UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed. “We are truly at a crossroads and time is running out. Leaders must go beyond mere rhetoric and deliver on their promises. Without adequate financing, the 2030 targets cannot be met.”
With only six years remaining to achieve the SDGs, hard-won development gains are being reversed, particularly in the poorest countries. If current trends continue, the UN estimates that almost 600 million people will continue to live in extreme poverty in 2030 and beyond, more than half of them women.

“We’re experiencing a sustainable development crisis, to which inequalities, inflation, debt, conflicts and climate disasters have all contributed,” said UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Li Junhua. “Resources are needed to address this, and the money is there. Billions of dollars are lost annually from tax avoidance and evasion, and fossil fuel subsidies are in the trillions. Globally, there is no shortage of money; rather, a shortage of will and commitment.”
According to the report debt burdens and rising borrowing costs are large contributors to the crisis. Estimates are that in the least developed countries debt service will be USD 40 billion annually between 2023 and 2025, up more than 50 per cent from USD 26 billion in 2022. Stronger and more frequent climate related disasters account for more than half of the debt upsurge in vulnerable countries. The poorest countries now spend 12 per cent of their revenues on interest payments -- four times more than they spent a decade ago. Roughly 40 per cent of the global population live in countries where governments spend more on interest payments than on education or health.
While investment in SDG sectors had grown steadily in the early 2000s, major sources of development funding are now slowing down. For example, domestic revenue growth has stalled since 2010, especially in LDCs and other low-income countries, in part due to tax evasion and avoidance. Corporate income tax rates are falling, with global average tax rates down from 28.2 per cent in 2000 to 21.1 per cent in 2023, due to globalization and tax competition.

Meanwhile, Official Development Assistance from OECD countries and climate finance commitments are not being met. While ODA increased to an all-time high in 2022, reaching USD 211 billion, from USD 185.9 billion in 2021, much of the growth came from aid to refugees living in donor countries, and the total amount is inadequate for development. Only four countries met the UN aid target of 0.7 per cent of GNI in 2022.  

The report concludes that the international financial system, which was set up at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference, is no longer fit for purpose. It proposes a new coherent system that is better equipped to respond to crises, scales up investment in the SDGs especially through stronger multilateral development banks, and improves the global safety net for all countries.

The report points to the UN Summit of the Future in September 2024 as a crucial opportunity to change course. It highlights the June 2025 Fourth International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD4) as the critical moment for countries to commit to closing the development financing gap and invest in achieving the SDGs.
FfD4 is an opportunity for countries to:
  • Close credibility gaps and rebuild trust in multilateralism.
  • Close financing and investment gaps, at scale and with urgency.
  • Reform and modernize the outdated international financial architecture and adjust international rules for trade, investment and finance.
  • Formulate and finance new development pathways to deliver on the SDGs and ensure no one is left behind.
“Without global cooperation, targeted financing, and, crucially, the political will, the world will not achieve the SDGs,” said Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed. “The clock is ticking. Between now and next year’s FfD4 Conference, we have a once-in-80-year opportunity to comprehensively reform the financial architecture, and a last chance to correct course before 2030. History will not be kind to those with the power to act who fail to do so, while the clock winds down on the planet and its people.”


NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - When Dr Leah Tsuma, the founder Asticom Limited succumbed to cancer in August 2021, her idea of converting municipal waste from Kibera slum into some 10 mega watts of electricity seemed to have died too. But, three years down the line, the dream has become a global topic, with scientists calling on the world to start turning rubbish into resources.                                                                                                      

During the 2024 United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi, the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) released a report offering assessment of global waste management and an analysis of data concerning municipal solid waste management worldwide.

“Waste generation is intrinsically tied to GDP, and many fast-growing economies are struggling under the burden of rapid waste growth,” observed Inger Andersen, the Executive Director at UNEP.

Generally, municipal waste is generated wherever there are human settlements. It is influenced by each person in the world, with every purchasing decision, through daily practices and in the choices made about managing waste in the home. According to the report, the world generates two billion tonnes of municipal solid waste every year.

One study shows that between 400,000 and one million people, most of them in developing countries die every year as a result of diseases related to mismanaged waste that includes diarrhoea, malaria, heart disease and different types of cancer.

On biodiversity, scientists have pointed out that indiscriminate waste disposal practices can introduce hazardous chemicals into soil, water bodies and the air, causing long-term, potentially irreversible damage to local flora and fauna, negatively impacting biodiversity, harming entire ecosystems, and entering the human food chain.

On the climate change front, a different report by UNEP shows that methane, which is a greenhouse gas is released from the decomposition of organic waste in landfills and dumpsites thereby directly contributing global warming.

And now, the new report finds that getting waste under control by taking waste prevention and management measures could limit net annual costs by 2050 to USD 270.2 billion.

However, projections, according to the report show that a circular economy model, where waste generation and economic growth are decoupled by adopting waste avoidance, sustainable business practices, and full waste management, could in fact lead to a full net gain of USD 108.5 billion per year.

“By identifying actionable steps to a more resourceful future and emphasizing the pivotal role of decision-makers in the public and private sectors to move towards zero waste, this (report) can support governments seeking to prevent missed opportunities to create more sustainable societies and to secure a liveable planet for future generations,” said Andersen.

According to Zoë Lenkiewicz, the lead author of the report, the findings demonstrate that the world urgently needs to shift to a zero waste approach, while improving waste management to prevent significant pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and negative impacts to human health.

“Pollution from waste knows no borders, so it is in everyone’s interests to commit to waste prevention and invest in waste management where it is lacking. The solutions are available and ready to be scaled up. What is needed now is strong leadership to set the direction and pace required, and to ensure no one is left behind,” said Lenkiewicz.

The scientists are therefore calling on counties to adopt the circular Economy scenario, which has a net-positive effect on greenhouse gas emissions and human health, and reduces significantly the negative impact on ecosystem quality.

In his speech at UNEA’s high level segment, President William Ruto said that such efforts in shared resources such as oceans will call for international collaboration.

“International collaboration is crucial in promoting the adoption of the "reduce, reuse, and recycle" life cycle approaches to waste that are vital for sustaining the blue economy and its ecosystems,” said Ruto. “We are (currently) implementing the Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan to shift waste management to a circular economy,” he added.

So far, according to, Germany has been celebrated as a world leader in recycling of municipal waste, thus becoming the benchmark for other countries when it comes to implementation of greener practices of waste disposal.

NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) – KyoGreen, an online platform, which is a tool that helps calculate carbon footprint is the latest winner of the prestigious award for the Global Excellence and Innovation as announced at the Qatar Financial Expo 2024.

Hosted by Kyoto Network, a global leader in the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) arena, bringing together expertise in Environmental Management Systems (EMS), sustainability reporting, and market advisory services,  KyoGreen allows users to quickly calculate their carbon footprint as well as the ability to offset it in the click of a button.

The platform allows both individuals and enterprises to seamlessly gauge their carbon footprint, invest in carbon offsets, and foster a harmonious relationship with the environment. With its cutting-edge solutions and intuitive design, KyoGreen equips its users with the means to make impactful decisions and engage in actions that promote environmental conservation.

"This global recognition is a testament to our team's relentless dedication and hard work,” said Sheraz Malik, the Founder and the Chief Executive Officer at the Kyoto Network. “It's a reflection of our collective effort to make a significant impact on sustainability practices worldwide," he added.

Malik noted that the honour not only celebrates KyoGreen as a pioneer in environmental leadership and sustainable business models but also aligns with Kyoto Network's mission to forge a sustainable future.

According to Amro Zakaria, the Middle East & Africa Director for Kyoto Network, the fight against climate change is no longer an option. "Achieving carbon neutrality is no longer optional but a crucial component of any future-proof business strategy. It's about building resilience and staying relevant in a world where sustainability is at the forefront," he said.

The award was lauded by Suhair Alashqar, the CEO of AFAQ Group of Companies and the organizer of the Qatar Financial Expo. “We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Kyoto Network for their groundbreaking achievement in sustainability with their innovative carbon footprint and offsetting dashboard, KyoGreen,” she said.

“The (team’s) commitment to environmental stewardship sets a remarkable example for the industry and inspires us all to strive for a greener, more sustainable future," added Alashqar.

“As we are determined to spearhead the movement towards environmental sustainability, we extend an open invitation to individuals and companies alike to join in this crucial endeavour to combat climate change,” said Malik

So far, a Swiss Company Climeworks has identified Kenya as a suitable site for a constructing a major carbon capture facility.

“As we move towards COP 29 later this year, we must have tangible solutions or techniques that will help us reduce the carbon emissions as envisioned by the Paris Agreement,” said Ben Lang, the East Africa Regional Project partner for Kyoto Network. “We are pleased to see Kenya taking the lead under the leadership of President William Ruto,” he noted


SIAYA/NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - When Anyango Ahenda lost her husband in 2021, her world crumbled, and the idea of becoming the sole breadwinner for her family seemed daunting.

“I felt overwhelming pain, hopelessness, and emotional turmoil. Our society's patriarchal norms dictated that women shouldn't farm or plant trees. I couldn't foresee how my family would cope with food insecurity,” says Ahenda, the founder of Aloro Widows Group in Siaya County.

However, her life took a positive turn when she joined forces with 20 other women's groups associated with the Siaya Muungano Network. This network operates under the Voice for Just Climate Action (VCA) program in Kenya, supporting locally-led climate change solutions for women, youth, and vulnerable groups.

These women, from Gem, Ugunja, and Alego Usonga sub-counties in Siaya, have emerged as pioneers in securing their families' food needs and achieving financial independence. They made a collective decision to shift away from relying solely on maize, a crop that was failing due to climate change.

Instead, they embraced al alternative route of traditional African crops known for their resilience in drought conditions. Crops such as cassava, sweet potatoes, sorghum, finger millet, and local vegetables like black nightshade became the backbone of their agricultural practices.

Ahenda shares, “A friend invited me to a training session on empowerment and climate change awareness by Siaya Muungano Network. After the sessions, I defied societal norms that forbade women from farming and began cultivating diverse crops.”

This transformation allowed her not only to provide for her family's needs but also to advocate for widows' rights throughout the county.

Ahenda’s story weaves directly into a new movement – The Global Tapestry of Alternatives (GTA) – which seeks to build bridges between networks of alternatives around the globe and promote the creation of new processes of confluence.

Martin Muriuki, the Executive Director at the Institute for Culture and Ecology (ICE) noted that use of indigenous knowledge can be a perfect alternative to adapting to climate change and protecting biodiversity among other things. “We have evidence that indigenous knowledge works and this should be brought on board as an alternative way of handling and adapting to the impacts of climate change,” he said.

Esther Bett, the Executive Director at RODI Kenya said that her organisation is working directly with prisons to give prisoners an alternative restorative and social justice. “Our criminal justice in Kenya today focuses on the person who harms, but leaves the person who has been harmed traumatised. We are therefore seeking an alternative to address both sides, and identify solutions right from within the community,” she said.

RODI strives to ensure that prisoners are equipped with knowledge and skills to enhance self-esteem, restore hope in life, self-support and to endear them to the community upon release, besides enabling them to contribute towards community and national development. The organisation also produces Bokashi – bio-fertiliser made through a fermentation process.

Simon Mitambo, the Founder – Society for Alternative Learning and Transformation (SALT) believes in the philosophy of connecting people back with nature. “We have to stop looking at plants and animals as natural resources and by doing so, the flora and fauna will naturally deliver ecosystem services to humanity,” said Mitambo.

He notes that in many communities, most elders never went to school, and so, most people look at them as illiterate “But the truth is that these elders are very eco-literate, and therefore very resourceful,” he said. His organisation therefore brings elders to a space where they feel they know something, and they have a story to tell that can be appreciated as an alternative way of mining knowledge.

An organisations like AGRA, formerly (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa), which has made significant progress in enhancing food production across the continent has also been persuaded to look at other alternatives in the new strategy so as to address emerging challenges to leverage on the gains made so far.

The new strategy that runs from 2023 to 2027 has been tuned to respond to recent global and African catastrophes including famine, COVID-19, drought, fall army worm, climate change, soaring food, fertiliser and energy prices, and the conflict in Ukraine.

“We have demonstrated that when farmers have access to choices of inputs (such as appropriate seeds and fertilisers) and when those inputs give a clear yield differential farmers adopt and their lives change, and this only happens sustainably when markets are available to the farmers,” said Dr Agnes Kalibata, AGRA’s President during the launch of the new strategy. 

She noted that the strategy will see AGRA do more of what works for farmers and that it will help her organisation understand markets better. “In all this we must bring more youth, more nutrition and be smarter in use of environmental resources,” said Kalibata. 

“The world is standing on the abyss of collapse,” said Ramasar, noting that collective, solidarity-based action across the world could help pull it back, and take in a different direction of peace, equality, and ecological harmony.

Back to the Siaya story, Rose Omondi from the Lady Gay Women Group recalls her journey, where she initially faced resistance from her husband when seeking land to plant crops. However, she found an alternative by secretly obtaining land from a friend and successfully cultivating sorghum. This act eventually won her husband's approval to plant trees in their compound.

To bolster their livelihoods further, the women have diversified their income streams by raising chickens, goats, sheep, and pigs. This strategy allows them to sell animals in case of poor harvests, providing them with an alternative source of livelihoods.

According to Ramasar, 60 percent of the world is fed by subsistence farmers like the Aloro Widows Group. “In Africa, we have our own solutions, we have the knowledge, we have the seeds and everything we need in order to make our continent a perfect place to live,” said the South Africa born academician and activist.

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