International UN-Water Conference. Water in the Green Economy in Practice: Towards Rio+20. 3-5 October 2011

Key questions on Green Economy

On technology

  • What are the technologies and the development of green technologies that we may need to encourage and prioritize: improved technological efficiency of networks, increasing use of renewable energies in water, new systems such as analyzing water stress in plants?
  • What is the character of the technological revolution? What are the institutional requirements to create the enabling conditions and facilitate the technological revolution?
  • Is technology the key factor that will facilitate job creation (or destruction in the case of water)?
  • How can asymmetries in development/technology and trade be addressed (e.g. who will be the exporters, in which countries will the added value of the technological revolution reside?
  • How can the transition to a green economy be made inclusive, contributing to well-being and poverty alleviation?
  • Who will benefit from technological change? Uneven technological capabilities may be a new source of inequality? Can financing arrangements be a means to smooth out potential inequalities without the process of structural change?
  • In this context, what is the 'new' role of government? Is it mainly about creating better market conditions, direct investment (many related to improving the environment but also technology and research) and helping technology transfer?
  • Is the government role one of supporting investment in new technologies and make this viable, and especially in disseminating them, and/or regulation to avoid technological dependence of developing countries (e.g. regulating patents, and licensing)? Do we need to ensure priority is given to improved public sector effectiveness and governance?
  • How can governments address inequity and asymmetries?

What role for economic policies and economic instruments?

  • If the green economy is a recognition that there have been major failures of the economic system and this means that there needs to be government/public intervention (even global), what role is there for policies that 'liberalize' the economy and make prices right, remove barriers and correct distortions?
  • How can we move beyond the discussion on liberalization of trade and trade protection in relation to the green economy?
  • How can we consider the role of economic instruments and improved market rationality and at the same time not treat water as a commodity because it has public and private goods characteristics?
  • Are there different economic instruments and ways of defining water use rights that may be more appropriate than existing ones in contingency planning?

What investments in water

  • What is different in the green package from conventional water supply and water resources management propositions? What do we need to prioritize among the different proposals: water demand management (including economic instruments), avoiding leakage, addressing the scarcity crisis, investment in protecting and improving ecosystems, advisory services to improve watering, as well as new building codes, preventing and reducing point and non point pollution, changes in crops, improvements in marketing and greater focus on the value chain?
  • How and when are supply side measures such as dams and desalinisation adequate?
  • How can water investments be an engine for economic growth? Do we need to emphasize the important forward – and backward – linkages of water investments for development (e.g. through improved education, freeing of time, and better health)?
  • How can we build on the analysis of the cost of inaction in water and the analysis of how this water crisis may be different to other crisis?
  • Is this the opportunity to emphasize that the water MDGs are achievable, that the scarcity crisis (forthcoming in the business-as-usual scenario) does not necessarily need to take place?
  • How can we include clean and safe water and sanitation services, as well as improved ecosystems and reduced pollution as part of the ECO-rights debate?
  • What is the real scope for water-related job creation in the green economy strategy?