New York, 14 December 2011 – Against a backdrop of the multiple crises of the past four years, the United Nations today launched a report that offers UN agencies and its member states guidance for coordinating the transition to a Green Economy at the international and country levels.
In the first-ever inter-agency report on the Green Economy, the Environment Management Group, representing the work of UN agencies, the Bretton Woods Institutions and other intergovernmental bodies, outlines steps and policies for pursuing a green transformation that generates new sources of sustainable and equitable economic growth that will assist in a global economic recovery. Such action will require investing in not only clean-technologies and natural capital, but also in human and social capital, including education, health care, cultural development and social protection.
The new report, Working towards a Balanced and Inclusive Green Economy, reflects a growing recognition of the shortcomings of business-as-usual practiced by both the public and private sector institutions over the last two decades and assesses how the UN system can coherently support countries in transitioning to a Green Economy. It calls for public spending to target green infrastructure and R&D that can spur green technologies and innovation, as well as better health care and education. In addition, governments need to align their laws, regulations, standards, taxes, labeling and reporting requirements to reinforce the incentives for the private sector to direct their finance and investments towards green, responsible business and a Green Economy.
The absence of appropriate regulation and pricing is causing a failure to create high potential markets in carbon trading, ecosystem services and environmental goods and services, the report explains. Investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, sustainable transport and agriculture, as well as other areas, can contribute to the global economic recovery, apart from generating environmental and social benefits, adds the report.
In developing countries, the World Bank estimates that the need for investments in greening infrastructure, such as buildings, energy and transport sectors, could reach US$264-$563 billion by 2030. An additional US$100 million might be needed for climate adaptation.