The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and the Government of Samoa convened the Open Forum on Green Growth. The Forum aimed to increase understanding of green growth in a practical context in the Pacific region, and to contribute to the UN Conference for Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) Subregional Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for Pacific Countries.
Iosefa Maiava, ESCAP, said green growth is a practical way to achieve sustainable development in the Pacific. He said the five pathways to green growth are:
- investment in natural capital;
- sustainable consumption and production (SCP);
- promotion of sustainable infrastructure;
- greening business and markets;
- and an enabling policy environment created by regulatory changes.
Mereia Volavola, Pacific Island Private Sector Organisation, outlined the challenges of greening businesses and markets faced by the private sector, including the need to address efficiency mechanisms, sustainable financing and capacity building.
A representative from the International Labour Organization (ILO) highlighted the value of green jobs within green growth. He said the sectors with potential for creating sustainable green jobs include tourism, renewable energy, agriculture, waste management and others.
Jackie Thomas, WWF, emphasized the value of energy efficiency within the tourism industry, with a focus on simple technology to improve profitability and sustainability. Karen Maposua, Women in Business Development, underscored the need for cultural and traditional practices to be part of the organic certification process in the Pacific, and provided examples of the growth of organic-focused businesses.
Aru Matthias, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), underscored that young people are the future and need to be recognized for their accomplishments in innovating in the agricultural sector