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Sustainable Investments Programme

© WWF-Kenya

Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance.

Introduction: 
 
The East Africa Sustainable Investments (RSI) Programme is implemented in three Eastern Africa countries namely Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique with other strategic activities within Sub Saharan Africa. WWF-Kenya hosts the programme and works with other countries to implement specific country components. It aims to influence investment decisions, practices, approaches and policies towards a more sustainable path through the application of systemic and landscape-based approaches by supporting governments, private sector and civil society to play their roles effectively.
 
At the landscape level the programme focuses on the Sustainable development of three development corridors namely; the Lamu Port, South-Sudan, Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor in Kenya, Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) in Tanzania and Mtwara Development Corridor bordering Mozambique and Tanzania.
 
The goal is that by 2025, development in and around WWF priority areas are designed and taking place in such a way that crucial ecosystem services, socio-economic and social benefits are enhanced and are accruing for communities within East Africa.
 
Background:
 
The Sub-Saharan Africa is in a period of immense change. The continent and Kenya specifically, is undergoing a period of rapid economic, social and environmental change, bringing both challenges and opportunities for sustainable development.  Its economies are growing fast, its population is increasing and is rapidly becoming urbanised and there is a growing middle class. Global demand for primary agricultural and mineral resources, for which Africa is becoming an important global source, is continuing to grow.  At the same time the region is becoming an attractive destination for investment.  These investments are helping to drive the regions ambitions for large scale change including: 
 
  • Extensification and intensification of agricultural production to serve both local and global food demands.
  • Growth of the extractives sector.  It is estimated that by 2030, over US$ 70 billion will have been invested in to mining projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  •  Giant infrastructure projects situated in strategic resource development corridors across the region that will help improve both regional and global integration.
 
However, these changes will potentially put pressure on Sub-Saharan Africa’s natural capital. There is considerable convergence between areas of economic development and crucial ecosystems such as forests, rangelands, marine areas and freshwater systems. 
 
Our Strategic Interventions:
 
Enabling environment for Sustainable Investment
  • Influence key Government policies and systems to create an enabling environment for sustainable investment.
  • Promote the use of integrated planning tools such as Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Natural Capital Assessment and Scenario and Spatial Planning.
  • Support multi-stakeholder planning and decision-making processes for development and investment planning.
  • Develop and use spatial data intelligence and translate this information into environmental, social risks and opportunities.
 
Sustainable Finance
  • Influence the financial systems applied by lending institutions and investors to improve the integration of environmental and social risks (e.g. guidelines, standards, principles and monitoring systems).
  • Influence, support and develop a range of green financial investment solutions that asset owners can adopt for investment and that in turn promote sustainable investments.  
  • Develop and use spatial data intelligence in our engagement with investors to inform their investment decisions.
  • Establish a Sustainable Finance Hub – Africa to strengthen the capacity of WWF staff and partners to work on sustainable finance.
 
Trade and Investment
  • Develop and maintain an understanding of the impact of trade and investment on high value conservation areas of high conservation value.
  • Promote the integration of environmental and social considerations in key trade and investment plans.
  • Promote the application of environmental and social standards to investments in and traded commodities from key resource development corridors. 
  •  Position WWF as a thought leader on sustainable investment in Sub-Saharan Africa.
 
WWF’s Added Value
 
Globally, there is interest in and commitment to sustainable investment through addressing key drivers of conservation degradation mainly finance, governance and markets with a key role played by governments, corporates, investors, civil society and development partners. There is growing commitment to a ‘green growth’ agenda led by governments; and corporates among others to better address environmental and social risks in their operations and implications on attainment of global sustainable development agenda.
 
Even with this increasing interest and commitment to sustainable investment, shifting countries from an unsustainable to  ‘green growth’ pathways in which there is an increase in finance directed towards sustainable investment is an immense challenge.  It cannot be done by one organisation. It will involve working with governments, investors and businesses globally.