Building an Inclusive Green Economy for All: Opportunities and Challenges for Overcoming Poverty and InequalityPosted on: 8 April 2013 - 1:41pm
While significant development progress has been achieved over the past two decades, with almost 650 million people moving out of extreme poverty in developing countries between 1990 and 2008, nearly 1.3 billion women, men and children have been left behind living on less than US$1.25 per day. Even greater numbers suffer other forms of poverty and deprivation, and inequality both within and across countries has increased. Looking ahead, the challenge of overcoming poverty and inequality will be greatly compounded by ecosystem degradation, climate change and economic disruption, which disproportionately impact the poor and most vulnerable. These increasingly interlinked crises threaten hard-won development gains and prospects for continued progress. While calls for action have multiplied, the world’s collective response has fallen far short of what is needed.
This joint Poverty-Environment Partnership paper aims to stimulate a dialogue among developing country policymakers, development partners and other stakeholders on how best to support country-led efforts to build inclusive green economies.
Download the paper (PDF)
Natural capital includes, first of all, the resources that we easily recognize and measure such as minerals and energy, forest timber, agricultural land, fisheries and water. It also includes ecosystems producing services that are often ‘invisible’ to most people such as air and water filtration, flood protection, carbon storage, pollination for crops, and habitat for fisheries and wildlife. These values are not readily captured in markets, so we don’t really know how much they contribute to the economy and livelihoods. We often take these services for granted and don’t know what it would cost if we lose them.
The concept of accounting for natural capital has been around for more than 30 years. However, progress in moving toward implementation has been slow.
A major step towards achieving this vision came recently with the adoption by the UN Statistical Commission of the System for Environmental-Economic Accounts (SEEA). The SEEA provides an internationally agreed method, on par with the current SNA, to account for material natural resources like minerals, timber, and fisheries. The challenge now is to build capacity in countries to implement the SEEA and to demonstrate its benefits to policy makers.
In the President of Malawi’s state of the nation address to the parliament on the 8th of February the President re-confirmed Malawi’s commitment to integrating climate change mitigation and adaptation into development planning and reinforced the significance of the PEI supported National Environment and Climate Change Communication Strategy (NECCCS) in raising awareness around the issue among Malawians. To illustrate this commitment the president has supported the creation of a new Ministry solely responsible for climate change and environment management and the development of a new climate change policy to commence soon to guide stakeholders in climate change impact, adaptation and mitigation measures.
An African Development Bank team composed of experts from the Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department (ONEC) and the Sierra Leone Field Office (SLFO) completed its second green growth mission to Sierra Leone from February 4 to 8, 2013. The objective of the mission was to work further with Government counterparts on mainstreaming green growth into Sierra Leone’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) – (2013–2017) called “Agenda for Prosperity”, currently under preparation.
The United Nations Environment Programme, launched green economy initiative in late 2008. The green economy initiative is one of the nine United Nations based Joint Crisis Initiatives launched by its Chief Executive Board in early 2009.
Its green economy report-2011, firstly, makes an economic case for shifting both public and private investment to transform key sectors that are critical to greening the global economy. It illustrates through examples how added employment through green jobs offsets job losses in a transition to green economy.
The world is not in a good shape at the moment – food prices are rising, fresh water is depleting, energy prices are soaring, biodiversity is dying out, intense storms are damaging towns and cities, while floods and droughts are threatening the livelihoods of millions. Clearly, climate change is playing a major role in taking its toll on human populations, just as the scientists had predicted it would. And the rate of change is accelerating. That means the chance of keeping global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century is getting slimmer.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing $600 million for a package of green projects that will transform waste into clean energy, reduce CO2 emissions, expand eco-friendly transport, and protect fragile wetland areas in fast-growing second-tier cities in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
“These four projects support PRC’s transition to a lower-carbon growth path built on a long-term commitment to green urbanization, better energy efficiency, and environmental preservation,” said Robert Wihtol, Director General of ADB’s East Asia Department. “We still have a long way to go, but with forward-looking planning and investment, the Chinese cities of the future can have clean air, blue skies, clean water and more green areas.”
Toward an Environmentally Sustainable Future: Country Environmental Analysis of the People's Republic of ChinaPosted on: 16 August 2012 - 11:43am
Toward an Environmentally Sustainable Future presents the results of a 2-year effort to update environmental assessment in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The research was a collaborative effort involving the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the National Development and Reform Commission, and numerous other technical and research institutions in the PRC. Based on this research and extensive consultations, ADB proposes a wide range of programs and policies that will help improve environmental quality despite new and emerging sources of pollution and challenges to natural resources management.
Examples of the green economy in practice show great potential for delivering a “triple bottom line” of job–creating economic growth coupled with environmental protection and social inclusion. However, there are significant barriers to realizing this potential on a large scale. To build an inclusive green economy that is equitable and sustainable will require carefully designed policies and targeted investments that enable low and middle-income countries and the poor to contribute to and benefit from the transition.
Of particular importance is the need for governance and policy reforms that extend to poor people secure rights over the environmental assets that underpin their livelihoods and well-being, and that ensure a greater voice in decisions affecting how these assets are managed. At the same time, policies and measures such as green protectionism and aid conditionality that could adversely impact low and middle-income countries and people living in poverty must be avoided if the benefits of an inclusive green economy are to be realized.
- From the foreword of "Building an Inclusive Green Economy for All: Opportunities and Challenges for Overcoming Poverty and Inequality," a Poverty-Environment Partnership joint paper