Green Economy Coalition surveying the ‘green economy’ and ‘green growth’ landscape after Rio+20 Reply

The Green Economy Coalition (GEC) has produced a paper summarizing the current situation in the growing field of ‘green economy’ and ‘green growth.’ This post-Rio+20 assessment is intended as a working draft for consultation and the GEC welcomes any feedback and insights.

The paper, titled “Surveying the ‘Green Economy’ and ‘Green Growth’ Landscape,” examines the current key players (from international institutions, through governments and the civil society to business) as well as the emerging trends and developments shaping the green economy landscape.

The paper concludes that there has been a rapid shift in the ‘green growth’ and ‘green economy’ agendas with even some mainstream economist and finance industries seeing an opportunity in green growth as a way out of economic stagnation. The paper further highlights that Rio+20 provided a much needed space for discussions on ‘green economy’ and that further UN discussions on this topic are vital for the international policy agenda.

The GEC also proposes that it is “critical for multi-stakeholder groups to work together to define and own the wider understanding of green economy – as one that tackles poverty and inequity and one that protects our natural systems.” It calls on coalitions and alliances to use their collective network, influence and experience to both complement and challenge the emerging agendas.

Link: GEC paper – working draft for consultation

‘New Economics and Happiness/Well-being’ events: August-October 2012 Reply

Here, we list some of the major upcoming events in the areas of ‘New Economics’ and/or ‘Happiness/Well-being’ to be held in the next three months.  As you will see, there are a number of interesting gatherings coming up this late summer/autumn.

August 2012

“Happiness, Compassion and Sustainability – A Strategic Gathering,” 24-25 August 2012, Seatle, US; at this conference, participants will learn about the vital new worldwide movement for happiness, find out about how to use the Happiness Initiative to improve your community, learn about the connection between happiness and sustainability, help plan “Pursuit of Happiness Day” (April 13) for 2013, and hear prominent authors; event sponsored by The Happiness Initiative, Take Back Your Time, The Compassionate Action Network and the Communications Department of Seattle University. http://www.happycounts.org/conf2012

September 2012

Second Global Happiness and Well-being Movement webinar, 21 September 2012; speaker: Jon Hall, of the United Nations Millenium Development Goals, http://www.happycounts.org/global-happiness-and-wellbeing-movement

3rd International Conference on Degrowth, 19-23 Sept 2012, Venice, Italy; The general theme of the conference Venezia 2012 on Degrowth and ecological sustainability and social justice is “The big transition: Degrowth as a passage of civilization,” http://www.venezia2012.it/?lang=en

October 2012

3rd Global Green Growth Forum – Copenhagen, 8-9 October 2012, theme “Resource Efficiency and Growth,” http://www.globalgreengrowthforum.com/news/3gf-in-the-media

2nd International Growth in Transition conference “How should we grow?” – Vienna, 8-10 October 2012, http://www.growthintransition.eu/conference2012

“Green Growth” getting stronger: GGGI to become an international organization Reply

Representatives of sixteen countries have gathered on June 20 at a side-event of the Rio+20 conference – Signing Ceremony for the Agreement on the Establishment of GGGI – to officially establish the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) as an international organization. The signatories of the Establishment Agreement – Australia, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ethiopia, Guyana, Kiribati, Korea, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, the Philippines, Qatar, the UAE, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam – will become the founding members of GGGI when it launches as a new international organization in October this year.

GGGI has been operational since 2010 with headquarters in Seoul, Republic of Korea. GGGI’s main aim has been to pioneer “Green Growth” as a new model of environmentally sustainable economic growth and its conversion into an international organization is a step forward to spread this economic model further around the world.

GGGI partners with developing countries and emerging economies, including least developed countries, to develop green growth strategies and plans that deliver poverty reduction, job creation and social inclusion in an environmentally sustainable way.  The Institute currently works in ten countries, including Brazil, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Thailand and UAE, and is expected to expand its set of partner countries in coming years.

Links: GGGI website

The World Bank calls for Inclusive Green Growth Reply

The World Bank has released a new report, titled “Inclusive Green Growth – The Pathway to Sustainable Development,” at the Global Green Growth Summit in Seoul in early May.

The report challenges governments to change their approach to growth policies, measuring not only what is being produced, but what is being used up and polluted in the process. It argues that sustained growth is necessary to achieve the urgent development needs of the world’s poor and that there is substantial scope for growing cleaner without growing slower. It also noted that green growth requires improved indicators to monitor economic performance.

The report focuses on 5 main points:

  • Greening growth – it is suggested this is necessary, efficient, and affordable, and critical to achieving sustainable development
  • Chief obstacles to greening growth, such as political barriers, entrenched behaviors and norms, and a lack of financing instruments
  • Multi-disciplinary solutions to overcome constraints and ensure progress
  • Green growth ‘variability’ – it is pointed out that strategies will vary across countries
  • Green growth not being inherently inclusive – it is highlighted that green growth policies must be carefully designed to be inclusive, by maximizing benefits for, and minimizing costs to, the poor and most vulnerable to avoid irreversible negative impacts

At the Global Green Growth Summit, the Government of Korea announced a partnership with the World Bank Group and pledged $40 million to further promote green growth.

Links: World Bank News

“Green Growth Knowledge Platform” launched Reply

The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and the World Bank, in partnership with numerous other organizations, launched the “Green Growth Knowledge Platform” (GGKP) in March 2012. The GGKP is a network of researchers and development experts, and its aim is to identify and address the key knowledge gaps in green growth theory and practice. The outcomes will be shared with practitioners and policy makers to “foster economic growth and implement sustainable development.”

Even though this project is still in its infancy, there are already a number of good resources, such as relevant reports and conference links.

Link: http://www.greengrowthknowledge.org/Pages/GGKPHome.aspx

Green growth can help recover the global economy says OECD Secretary-General Reply

OECD Secretary-General, Angel Gurría, suggests in his February article “Green Growth: Making it Happen” that green growth can be seen as a new source of growth with the potential of helping the global economy to get “back on track.” He also highlights that green growth should go in line with sustainable development taking into account all economic, social as well as environmental aspects.

The article touches on the key environmental challenges in the areas of climate change, biodiversity, water, as well as health and environment identified in the “OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050” published earlier this year. It discusses the projections into the future and concludes that change in behavior and policy is needed. Some of the green growth policy change recommendations include: putting a price on pollution (including carbon emissions), phasing out environmentally harmful and inefficient subsidies (e.g. on fossil fuel production and use) and supporting green innovations at all levels (including green investments).

The Secretary-General invites all world leaders to action on sustainable development with the Rio+20 being a perfect opportunity and suggests that green growth can be part of the solution.

Links: OECD Secretary-General article, OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050

Upcoming ‘New Economics and Happiness/Well-being’ meetings and conferences Reply

In line with the growing worldwide debate about economic growth in relation to human well-being and happiness, there are many events relating to this topic that are to be held this spring/early summer. We list here some of the major upcoming meetings and conferences to be held in the next three months. Please contact us if you think there are any important events missing in our list that should be added.

April 2012

“African Conference on Measuring and Fostering the Progress of Societies,” 19-21 April 2012, Rabat, Morocco; meeting in preparation for the 4th OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policies (New Delhi October 2012), organised by the OECD Development Centre and the Moroccan High Planning Commission (HCP) in collaboration with the OECD, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), http://www.oecd.org/

May 2012

“Global Green Growth Summit 2012,” 10-11 May 2012, Seoul, Republic of Korea; the meeting is hosted by The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and the Government of the Republic of Korea, in partnership with The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the meeting will convene top economic and environmental policymakers and experts to discuss the concrete ways in which international cooperation can be strengthened to support countries that pursue green growth and green economy strategies, http://www.gggi.org/event/

“International Conference on Degrowth in the Americas,” 13-19 May 2012, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; drawing from previous degrowth conferences in Paris and Barcelona in 2008 and 2010, respectively, the Montreal conference will focus on the particular situations and dynamic of the Americas in terms of Degrowth, http://montreal.degrowth.org/

June 2012

“Well-being and the Pursuit of Happiness,” 1 June 2012, Vermont, US; the Second Conference on GNH will focus on how we can measure well-being and use those indicators to help shape policy in state and local government and in organizations, it will also explore how to work with communities to further the pursuit of happiness based on what has been learnt from Vermont and National Surveys, http://www.gnhusa.org/

“Strategies for a New Economy,” 8-10 June 2012, Bard College’s main Campus, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, US; convened by the New Economics Institute, the conference will gather together what are often diverse and scattered efforts to reshape our economic system, place them under one tent, and raise the flag to announce that transitioning to a new economy will mean engaging politicians, researchers, media, educators, citizen activists, business leaders, financial experts, scientists, union workers, cultural leaders, advocates for the disenfranchised, and youth — all working together to achieve a common goal, the conference will focus on 10 theme areas: Banking and Financing, Measuring Well Being, Messaging, Responsive Government, Local Economies, Ownership and Work, Production and Consumption, Sharing the Commons, Transforming Money, and Visioning and Modelling, http://neweconomicsinstitute.org/conference

“The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development” (UNCSD, or ‘Earth Summit 2012’, or ‘Rio+20’), 20-22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Twenty years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, where countries adopted Agenda 21 – a blueprint to rethink economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection — the UN is again bringing together governments, international institutions and major groups to agree on a range of smart measures that can reduce poverty while promoting decent jobs, clean energy and a more sustainable and fair use of resources. The Rio+20 conference will focus on two themes: 1. Green Economy in the Context of Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development, and 2. Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development; there will be also numerous side events, exhibitions, presentations, fairs and announcements in connection with the conference, http://www.uncsd2012.org

“European Conference on Measuring Well-being and Fostering the Progress of Societies,” 26-28 June 2012, Paris, France; undertaken as part of the European Framework for Measuring Progress e-Frame EU FP7 project and organised by the OECD, the Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istat) and Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in collaboration with Eurostat and the European Statistical System, it will focus on recent activities in the field of measuring progress and well-being in the European context and it is the last in a series of regional events being conducted in preparation for the 4th OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy, to be held in New Delhi on 16-19 October 2012, http://www.oecd.org/

OECD’s Green Growth website Reply

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) works extensively in the area of Green Growth to show that this is “the way to make a cleaner low-carbon economy compatible with growth.” The OECD keeps a regularly updated website with information on OECD’s involvement in Green Growth work. The site contains links to events, news, articles and publications.

Link: http://www.oecd.org/document/

“Green Growth, Resources and Resilience: Environmental Sustainability in Asia and the Pacific” Reply

The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) have produced a joint report on resource use trends and green growth strategies in the Asia-Pacific Region. The report, titled “Green Growth, Resources and Resilience: Environmental Sustainability in Asia and the Pacific” and released in February 2012, highlights the changes that have occurred in the policy landscape in the Asia-Pacific Region since 2005.

The authors of the report note that leaders in this region increasingly recognize that “to reduce poverty and increase resilience, a greater focus is needed on achieving a better quality of growth.” They propose that in order to achieve this aim, an “expanded range of economic, social and environmental considerations, must become as important as, or even more important than, expanding gross domestic product.” The report also acknowledges that “green growth strategies, on their own, cannot address the root causes of poverty” and suggests further policy research and analysis of the links between persistent poverty, inequality and resource use. The report concludes with a recommendation that the major green growth opportunity in the Asia-Pacific Region lies in the “ability of economies to reduce the quantity of resources used by the built environment.”

Link: http://www.unescap.org/esd/environment/flagpubs/GGRAP/

UNCTAD Discussion Paper on Green Growth and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reply

A recently published discussion paper authored by Ulrich Hoffmann, the Head of the Trade and Sustainable Development Section at the secretariat of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) questions the potential of Green Growth to sufficiently reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The paper, titled “Some reflections on climate change, green growth illusions and development space”, argues that even though Green Growth (based on decoupling of economic growth from material throughput and conventional energy use) might be a good way of “creating new growth impulses with reduced environmental load and facilitating related technological and structural change”, its potential to sufficiently reduce GHG emissions is greatly limited by constraints in growth, technological, population-expansion and governance as well as some key systemic issues. The author suggests that “one should not deceive oneself into believing that such evolutionary (and often reductionist) approach will be sufficient to cope with the complexities of climate change.”