Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment (UNEP), assures us that protecting the environment and pursuing development are perfectly compatible. He calls on Commonwealth leaders to keep environmental considerations at the centre of development policy and to embrace the enormous business opportunity that going green presents.
There is a new railway coming into Nairobi, the city I now call home. This is a symbol of the dramatic changes under way in Africa, and a glimpse of even greater developments for the continent down the line. Africa is moving, and moving fast. Soon, the new rail link will connect the coastal city of Mombasa with Nairobi, and then landlocked Uganda. It will also provide access to Rwanda, Burundi and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
African goods will find new export markets, and the rest of the world will look for new markets here. It will also carry the potential to lift millions out of poverty. We shall say goodbye to the creaking ‘Lunatic Express’ – the old colonial-era railway – and hopefully we’ll also see less of the polluting traffic jams of trucks. East Africa, the wider continent, and large parts of the rest of the world are all on the cusp of enormous change.
But this particular project is not without controversy…
Executive Director of UN Environment