Saturday, September 10, 2011

Helen Clark (UNDP Adminstrator) on 'Green Economy'

Adapted from Helen Clark's presentation at the Informal meeting of the Executive Board on Rio+20 (September 9, 2011)

The Secretary-General, has made sustainable development a top priority for his second term in office.The agencies, funds and programmes of the UN system are actively engaged in supporting his agenda and the preparations for Rio+20. Common positions are being developed in advance of the 1 November deadline for submissions on the zero draft of the Outcome Document. The aim is to have a UN Strategy for Rio+20. Individual organisations are also submitting ideas from their perspectives, under the auspices of the High Level Committee on Programmes of the UN´s Chief Executive Board.

At UNDP, we are committed to working collaboratively with our sister organizations and partners to support a global transition towards a more sustainable future. Sustainable development is an objective for the developing and developed worlds alike. The role of the UN development system is to support developing countries making that transition, by helping mobilize knowledge, expertise, and resources.

The Green Economy in the Context of Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication

High on our agenda is working with partners to support transitions towards low-emission development pathways, and to safeguard the environmental resources and eco-system services which are critical for livelihoods today and development prospects tomorrow. Alongside that we promote equitable and inclusive approaches to growth, with a strong focus on decent work and on more opportunities for women, youth, and others who currently experience marginalization.

A green economy which works for the world´s poor could be expected to display the following characteristics. It would:

- maintain growth while reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the economy as a whole, and promote job creation and other economic opportunities in sectors where the poor seek to build their livelihoods;

- generate more public revenues to enable investment in quality services, to which the poor would have equitable access;

- retain biodiversity and eco-system services, while also maintaining the livelihoods of the poor and other communities who depend on them;

- promote equitable access to energy and its efficient use; and

- build resilience to environmental and other risks.

In the field we have good examples of solutions which integrate these dimensions. The “Multifunctional Platforms” – or simple engines – deployed in villages in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Senegal (UNDP, 2010) have created new opportunities for women to earn income. That has also brought health and education benefits to their families. The time women spend on grinding domestic chores has been reduced. Over time there should be a shift to sustainable energy sources for these engines.

In general, we see off-grid green energy sources having good potential to provide poor people with access to energy, while also offering new employment opportunities where supported by micro-credit and the capacity to build small enterprises.

Providing access to clean energy is critical for achieving green growth, and sustainable human development. It also accelerates progress on the MDGs. Universal access to modern energy services is achievable by 2030, and UNDP will work with partners to apply proven and innovative solutions to reach that goal. Political leadership and commitment, investment in infrastructure, institutions and capacity development, and scaling up proven energy models are required. We see energy as a key area for strong outcomes at Rio, which we hope will back energy solutions integrating the three pillars of sustainable development.

UNDP has much programme experience which supports advancing energy access while also meeting other goals – such as in empowering women, youth, and marginalized groups, encouraging job-rich growth, and building the capacities of policy-makers and leaders to work for equitable and inclusive development.


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