‘Green’ economy vital to promoting development in midst of crises – UN agencies

25 June 2009 – Nearly two dozen agencies of the United Nations system have banded together to issue an urgent call for nations to ‘green’ their economies to address the multiple crises that are dampening progress towards reaching development targets.

In a statement to the high-level UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development, currently underway in New York, 21 agencies joined forces to underscore the need for a shift to a green economy that can spur job creation and curb a multitude of threats ranging from current crises related to food, water and climate change.

“The solidarity of the international community is being tested,” said the statement. “Let this economic recovery be the turning point for an ambitious and effective international response to the multiple crises facing humanity.”

The ultimate test, the agencies pointed out, will come in December when nations are expected to wrap up negotiations in the Danish capital on a new climate change pact that will replace the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period expires in 2012.

“Let Copenhagen be the turning point for ushering in a global green economy,” they said.

Today’s statement underscored the need for fiscal reforms which can encourage green investment, as well as phasing out “perverse” subsidies which result in the excessive use of fossil fuels in agriculture and fisheries.

“The revenues saved by phasing out such subsidies could be reallocated towards the development of green job skills, the provision of clean, affordable energy alternatives for the poor, and support to other green sectors with broad economic benefits,” it noted.

The agencies also highlighted the importance of reviving trade to boost development and the transfer of environmentally-friendly technologies to make clean energy affordable to poorer nations and support climate change mitigation and adaptation.

“Early conclusion of the Doha Round trade negotiations can facilitate a green recovery, in particular the negotiations on environmental goods and services, fisheries subsidies, and reforming agriculture rules that would be conducive to fostering food security for all.”

Further, the joint statement underlined the need for education to pave the way for sustainable development through training for new job skills and for newly-required health systems.

“Delivering a transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient Green Economy cannot occur without the creativity, vision, actions and support of a broad cross-section of society,” said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

“This rapid harmonization of perspectives from so many agencies reflects their determination to be agents of change towards a sustainable 21st century,” Mr. Steiner, who presented the statement on behalf of all 21 agencies, said.

Among the agencies signing on to the statement are the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank Group.


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