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Rio+20: New Report Presents Opportunities to Fast Track Transition to Green Economy, Sustainable Development
A transition to a green economy could lift millions of people out of poverty and transform the livelihoods of many of the 1.3 billion people earning just US$1.25 a day around the world, but only when supported by strong policies and public- and private-sector investments.
These are the findings of a new report, Building an Inclusive Green Economy for All, launched today at the Rio+20 summit by the Poverty-Environment Partnership (PEP), a network of bilateral aid agencies, development banks, UN agencies and international NGOs.
The report finds that many developing and least developed countries are already pursuing a transition towards low-carbon, resource efficient economies.
Scaling-up current examples of the green economy in action – particularly in developing countries - has the potential to deliver a ‘triple bottom line’ of job-creating economic growth, environmental sustainability and social inclusion, says the report.
But targeted investments and governance reforms are needed to overcome current barriers that are preventing many poor communities from fully benefiting from a green economy.
“Many least developed and developing countries and communities are seizing the opportunity to bring economy and ecology together in order to generate transformational social outcomes,” said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), a PEP member, at the launch of the report in Rio de Janeiro.
“By embracing an inclusive green economy, leaders in Rio have a rare opportunity to improve the lives of millions of people and usher in a new era of sustainability,” said Manish Bapna, Acting President of the World Resources Institute, which co-ordinated the study.
The report cites many strong examples of developing countries that are already successfully shifting to a green economy. For example:
• Ethiopia is developing six wind energy projects and a geothermal project, which will increase the country’s capacity by over 1,000 megawatts.
• Mongolia’s first 50 megawatt wind farm is currently under construction and is set to generate an estimated five percent of the county’s electricity needs, while reducing air pollution linked with coal-fired generation. Mongolia has the potential to act as a “supergrid” in the region, supplying neighbouring countries with clean energy.
• In Uganda, the promotion of organic agriculture is helping tens of thousands of farmers to earn up to 300 percent more from certified pineapple, ginger, vanilla and other exports. Globally, the market for organic food products has increased three-fold since 2000.
On the international level, the development of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD or REDD+) also offers potential for poverty eradication if accompanied by rigorous social safeguards especially for local and indigenous people. For example, in Indonesia, a US $1 billion REDD+ investment by Norway has led to a one year moratorium on logging in Kalimantan, has the potential to safeguard 45 percent of the province’s forests, while providing new livelihood and income opportunities for local people.
The report calls on delegates meeting for the Rio+20 Summit to consider “five critical building blocks” towards an inclusive green economy. These can maximize the benefits for the poor of a green economy, and foster a shared policy agenda between developing country governments, developed country partners and other stakeholders.
• National Economic and Social Policies: Fiscal policies, tax regimes, and ‘green’ social protection policies and programmes can strengthen a pro-poor transition;
• Local Rights and Capacities: Ensuring poor people have rights and tenure over their natural resources backed by the means and the incentives to sustainably manage and benefit from them;
• Inclusive Green Markets: New business models are needed to build and expand the poor’s access to inclusive markets and supply chains for green products and services, together with access to micro-credit and business development services for small and medium-scale enterprises;
• Harmonized International Policies and Support: Higher-income countries need to provide coherent aid, trade and other policies to enable low-income countries to succeed in a green economy transition; and
• New Metrics for Measuring Progress: Going beyond the narrowness of GDP to a broader indicator of economic, social and environmental progress and human well-being: this is a key issue on the table at Rio+20.
The full report, Building An Inclusive Green Economy For All: Opportunities and Challenges for Overcoming Poverty and Inequality, is available here.
Note: The publication has been prepared by staff from Asian Development Bank, Australia (AusAid); Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Germany’s GIZ; the International Institute for Environment and Development; the International Union for the Conservation of Nature; the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; the UN Development Programme; the UN Environment Programme; the World Bank; the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Resources Institute. For more information, contact Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted By Madiha Qureshi at 12:45pm on June 15, 2012
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