GEN leaders ask politicians at the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment: “How can we help you achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by transitioning African villages to ecovillages?”
A strategic meeting by members of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) International and GEN Africa was held in Sekem Ecovillage from April 16th-20th, 2016.
In parallel to the GEN Africa strategy meeting, a conference was simultaneously taking place in Sekem by the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN): a permanent forum where African environmental ministers discuss matters of relevance to the African continent. The theme this year was “Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement: From Policy to Implementation in Africa.”
GEN’s Sekem Summit was hosted by Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, founder of Sekem Ecovillage and the Heliopolis Foundation. In attendance were Ross Jackson, founder of GEN and Gaia Trust; Kosha Joubert, executive director of GEN International; Tim Clarke, former EU Ambassador; Rob Wheeler of GEN’s International Advisory Board; Mohamed Waguiah and Gihan Hamza from Heliopolis University; and GEN Africa representatives: Dr. Ousmane Aly Pame (President), Niveen Adel (Vice President), and Joshua Konkankoh (GEN Africa Council).
The team worked together on a concept note for the Pan-African Ecovillage Development Programme to “Eradicate Poverty, Restore the Natural Environment, Achieve Climate Resiliency and Implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. It also examined the Lighthouse Tower Ecovillage projects as a model for social innovation and small and medium size enterprise to be spread throughout Africa.
Facilitated by the Sekem team, a one-day side event was organized to the AMCEN conference on the theme, “Towards More Resilient Ecovillages in Africa.” Ministers from Egypt, The Gambia, Rwanda, and more accepted our invitation to explore with us the question: “Can we help you achieve the SDGs by transitioning African villages to ecovillages?”
Ecovillage best practices in Africa were presented alongside an open discussion on how governments can support the scaling-up of ecovillages in order to achieve the SDGs and Paris Climate Agreements. The event was honored by the attendance of ministers and representatives from a group of African governments, in addition to a representative from the African union.
During this meeting, we prepared for major events in Africa for 2016:
- Second Meeting of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-2 ) in Nairobi, Kenya (May 2016)
- COP22 in Marrakesh, Morocco (November 2016)
- GEN Africa General Assembly in Ghana (December 2016)
- GEN’s transitional strategy was revised
- New GEN educational tools on Ecovillage Training and Social Entrepreneurship were shared
During the meeting, the forthcoming membership of GEN Africa in Senegal was announced by Dr. Ousmane Aly Pame, president of GEN Africa. As of time of writing, the process has now been finalized and we celebrate the opportunity here to announce the official registration of GEN Africa in Senegal as a community service organization.
The GEN Africa Council is grateful for all the efforts of the team in Sekem, most especially Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, who has invested his time and energies in making this meeting possible, and to the GEN International team for the great learning experience and for laying solid foundations for fruitful collaborations for the long term benefits of the African grassroots communities.