Asia-Pacific region must adopt low carbon policies to sustain growth – UN

Credit: ESCAP

29 May 2012 – Asia-Pacific nations must adopt low carbon policies to reduce poverty and sustain their economic growth, according to a United Nations roadmap launched today, which puts forward a series of strategies to help developing countries in the region deal with shrinking natural resources and climate change and drive sustainable development.

“The Asia-Pacific region cannot achieve development goals fully by following conventional growth strategies,” the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Noeleen Heyzer, said in her foreword to the roadmap.

The roadmap – the ESCAP Low Carbon Green Growth Roadmap for Asia and the Pacific: Turning resource constraints and the climate crisis into economic growth opportunities – proposes a five-track path of change with 63 policy options and 51 examples, and calls for economic reforms in market prices, regulations and governance, as well as infrastructure such as transport, buildings, urban design, energy, and water waste systems.

“Resource constraints, price volatility and the climate crisis have removed business as usual as an option and require a serious re-examination of resource and carbon-intensive growth strategies,” Ms. Heyzer said. “If our region is to sustain the high economic growth that we need to achieve our development goals, then we must shift to a different growth trajectory,” she added.

According to ESCAP, Asia-Pacific countries use three times the resources as the rest of the world to produce a unit of gross domestic product.

The roadmap aims to help policymakers in the region “turn the till-now trade-off between the ecological crisis and economic growth into a synergy in which resource constraints and climate crisis become opportunities for the growth necessary to reduce poverty in the region,” said the Director of the ESCAP Environment and Development Division, Rae Kwon Chung, in a news release.

ESCAP said that Asia-Pacific developing countries must shift towards a resource- and energy-efficient growth pattern because of growing resources constraints and climate impacts – and that the shift to low-carbon green growth requires political will from governments, as well as international collaboration. It underlined that the UN Sustainable Development Conference (Rio+20) in Brazil next month will provide an exceptional opportunity to forge global partnerships to this end.

“The countries of Asia and the Pacific should lead this process by generating the regional momentum necessary to move towards a green economy capable of lifting people out of poverty and achieving inclusive, resilient and sustainable development,” Ms. Heyzer said.


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