Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why a Green Economy Matters for the Least Developed Countries

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) have released a report titled “Why a Green Economy Matters for Least Developed Countries.”

The report was released at the the Fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC IV), convening from 9-13 May 2011, in Istanbul, Turkey.

According to the report, the world's 48 LDCs are positioned to jump-start the transition to a green economy by continuing to develop low-carbon, labour-intensive agriculture and community-based forestry, sustainable practices that have existed for decades. Developed and emerging countries, meanwhile, face substantial costs of “decarbonisation” and costs related to retiring inefficient fossil fuel-based technologies.

The report includes examples of achievements in a range of economic sectors, including energy and agriculture, and through government, private sector and civil society initiatives. The examples include: Uganda’s experience in quadrupling exports of organic agricultural products between 2003 and 2008, tapping into a growing global market and ensuring higher prices for products.

Uganda, the African country having the largest area under organic agricultural farming, significantly expanded its exports of organic products despite being an LDC far from its major export markets. In Uganda, certified organic exports increased from US$ 3.7 million in 2003/4, to US$ 6.2 million in 2004/5, before jumping to US$ 22.8 million in 2007/8. Studies commissioned by UNEP and UNCTAD indicate that in 2006 the farm-gate prices of organic pineapple, ginger and vanilla were 300 per cent, 185 per cent, and 150 per cent higher, respectively, than conventional products, making sustainable forms of production highly profitable for producers and local communities.

Other examples include Nepal's approach to Community Forest Management, which has succeeded in reversing the trend of decline in forest cover and continues to generate employment and income from the sustainable harvesting of timber and non-timber forest products; and Mali’s experience of supporting farmers through field training, significantly reducing the use of imported pesticides and expanding the use of organic fertilizers, simultaneously increasing production and reducing input costs. Read the full report from here

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