New UN partnership will help 30 countries transition to green economies

Solar panels at a power plant used for renewable energy. Photo: Shutterstock

19 February 2013 – United Nations agencies will support 30 countries over the next seven years to build green economy strategies that will generate jobs, promote clean technologies and reduce environmental risk, through a new partnership launched today.

The Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) will help participating countries to shift investment and policies towards the creation of clean technologies, resource-efficient infrastructure, green skilled labour and good governance, among other services.

This is the first time that four UN agencies – the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) – join forces to coordinate their expertise and resources at a national level.

“The Partnership for Action on Green Economy will work with countries to catalyze change at the national level, assisting  them with targeted economic and policy instruments and training that will accelerate their green economy transition across sectors ranging from clean energy to sustainable agriculture,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

“With the support of PAGE, developing countries, in particular, can put in place the policies needed to reap the economic and environmental benefits of an inclusive, resource-efficient, low-carbon pathway, and avoid the risks and shocks of carbon-intensive infrastructures.”

PAGE is a direct response to the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), which was held in June in Brazil. The document, entitled “The Future We Want,” calls on UN agencies to support countries that want to accelerate their transition to an inclusive green economy to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development.

“ILO estimates that at least half of the global workforce – or 1.5 billion people – could be affected in some way by the transition to a green economy,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “PAGE aims to embed the right policies and opportunities at the national level as countries move forward with their inclusive green economy plans, and thus ensure this transition creates more and better jobs and benefits all of society.”

During the first two years of the partnership, PAGE will focus on seven pilot countries, which are yet to be named, and will scale up its support to a total of 30 countries by 2020, the agencies said in a news release.

“Promoting green and clean new industries, and helping existing industries become more resource-efficient, will be a key focus of the partnership,” said Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director-General of UNIDO.  “While business and industry should be aligned with national green economy efforts, Governments need to set the parameters in order for business to thrive.”

Director ad Interim of UNITAR, Sally Fegan-Wyles, said the transition to a green economy will create unprecedented opportunities for learning skills and development.

“PAGE addresses this challenge, by offering a suite of learning programmes and by strengthening capacities of national research and training institutions to ensure sustainability,” she added.

News Tracker: past stories on this issue

Economic development tops priorities for ECOSOC, says new President

Related Stories