Saturday, December 3, 2011

Green economy highlights from the Rio Submissions

By Green Economy Coalition

A total of 647 submissions to the Zero Draft text were submitted to UNDESA. Unless you have a spare couple of weeks to read through each and every one of them, we thought we would share some quick highlights from some of the Member State submissions.

Brazil’s submission is bold and visionary. A green economy is founded on social justice and environmental protection. They propose a ‘Global Socio-Environmental Protection Programme’, which picks up on the Green Economy Coalition (GEC’s) theme of a Social Protection Floor. This would aim to guarantee income as a means of overcoming extreme poverty throughout the world and of ensuring environmental protection, nutritional security, adequate housing and access to clean water for all.

Like the GEC, Brazil promotes the view that the introduction of Sustainable Development Goals would point to the macro-objectives that are being sought on the global scale. They also propose an ‘international protocol for sustainability of the financial sector’ that builds on the Brazilian Green Protocol, a national initiative aimed at private banks whereby signatories commit to include environmental dimensions in all of their risk analysis and project evaluation procedures. We would highly recommend you read the Brazilian submission – they certainly have the big picture in sight.

Japan’s submission not only frames the role of a green economy for generating human wellbeing and conserving natural resources in light of the nine planetary boundaries, but also as one that can enhance resilience against natural disasters. They propose some interesting measures, including a gross metering scheme of feed-in-tariffs for renewable energy. They suggest that investment in the environment will be prompted by using interest subsidies and leasing subsidies, and put forward a voluntary initiative for all financial institutions that would embody ‘Principles for Financial Action towards a Sustainable Society’.

G77 and China stress that green economy must not resort to any form of protectionism, unilateral measures or other border trade measures. They also stress that reforming the international financial system, democratising its governance structure, promoting more participation of developing countries and making it more development-orientated is critical to Rio 2012.

The EU proposes that the green economy can offer ‘win-win opportunities to all countries, regardless of the structure of their economy and level of development’. They put forward a green economy roadmap with specific goals, objectives and actions at the international level. They also stress the need for innovative and private instruments of finance, highlighting the importance of these in areas such as climate change and biodiversity, and stressing the role of the Leading Group on Innovative Finance for Development.

Botswana notes that the ‘concept of a green economy resonates well with the approach of the Government of Botswana to long-term development policy and practice’. As a result of a national dialogue process (supported by our coalition member, IIED), they have agreed a ten-point vision on green economy. They stress that countries must commit to a process of ‘accounting for the environment’ by quantifying the value that natural systems bring to our economies. Green accounting frameworks need to be integrated into national accounting practices. Botswana also urges the international community to commit to the development and implementation of new ways of measuring national ‘wealth’, specifically with new indicators on societal well-being and environmental health.

India’s focus on a green economy is one directed at rural connectivity and employment. They cite post-harvest management facilities, improvements in agricultural inputs as well as crop productivity, strengthening farm and non-farm linkages, and decreasing the price spread between farm harvest and wholesale prices.

Switzerland imagines an international green economy roadmap with a timeframe of 20 years as one of the key outcomes of Rio 2012. The global roadmap would apply to the international community as a whole, but with differentiated responsibilities and solutions for each country. It also backs ‘ecological market transparency and trade’, reform of fossil fuel subsidies, and sustainable public procurement.

China recognises green economy as an important instrument to achieving sustainable development. However, it notes that developing countries face constraints in financing, technology and capacity building in making the transition. As such, the international community must provide an enabling environment for developing countries to embark on green economy transformations, which must entail opposition to trade protectionism in the name of green economy. At the same time, developed countries must commit to changing their unsustainable ways of production, living and consumption.

Source: December 2011 Newsletter of the Green Economy Coalition

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