The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) launched the Kenya Green University Network (KGUN) to promote environmental and sustainability practices among Kenyan universities. The network will serve as a knowledge and innovation hub and support the sharing of best practices to support achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change.
UNEP launched KGUN with Kenya’s National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and the Commission for University Education (CUE). The network will bring together over 70 universities with the aim of incorporating environmental and low-carbon strategies into Kenyan higher education, fostering student innovations in environmental sustainability, catalyzing the need for more sustainable universities and promoting the adoption of green schools and universities and the Greening Universities Toolkit.
“The benefits of embracing environmental sustainability include a positive attitude change towards the environment, increased compliance to environmental laws and standards, and cost reductions as a result of resource use efficiency,” Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities of Kenya, Judi Wakhungu, said at the launch event.
“Education – especially higher education – is one of the key drivers of sustainable development,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said in his remarks. He described the role of higher education in closing gaps between science and policy, promoting the sharing of knowledge, innovations and skills, and educating future leaders who will drive development decisions. Steiner also praised Kenyan universities for recognizing sustainability demands and beginning to invest in greener campuses and curricula.
UNEP is supporting KGUN as part of its environmental education portfolio, including the Global Universities Partnerships on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES) and its youth-focused Tunza initiative.