Around 40 ministers, CEOs, high-level representatives of UN agencies, nongovernmental organizations and trade unions as well as more than 300 sustainable development experts meet in Berlin today for the second global forum on green economy. They are joined by renowned economists, including Jeffrey Sachs and Pavan Sukhdev, to explore ways of fighting inequalities and environmental degradation, based on the transformational goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
During the two-day event, they will discuss the root economic causes of the growing exploitation of natural resources, climate change and pollution. They will also look at the increasing inequalities which are giving rise to radical populism in many parts of the world.
The second conference of the Partnership for Action on Green Economy – an alliance of five UN agencies and 11 countries – is being hosted by the German Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.
"We don't have to choose between a healthy environment and a healthy economy: we can have both," said UN Environment head, Erik Solheim. "Regardless of current politics, the irreversible global trend is to make our economies cleaner, fairer and more stable. What we need now is a great acceleration – a new green revolution – to make sure we achieve inclusive green economy while there is still enough green to go around."
"The Sustainable Development Goals will not become a reality until they are powered by decisive action of both governments and private companies", said Barbara Hendricks, Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety of Germany.
"Our current economic practices are destroying our planet and hence the resources on which our lives depend. We have already exceeded several planetary boundaries. Climate change is the most obvious sign that things are getting out of hand."
"The time has come to reconsider our economic practices and our lifestyles. We need a different kind of growth – one which does not create social divides and which respects the planetary boundaries. Only real change can make the national economy of every country more sustainable and resilient."
"The concept of sustainability is a powerful tool, which takes into consideration the economic, social and environmental dimensions," said Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs of South Africa. "Economies or economic growth will have to be socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable."
"South Africa is currently implementing programmes to promote energy efficiency, green transport, sustainable housing and climate resilient agriculture. Significant investments have already been made in different sectors – notably in the energy sector."
New funds, new members
The Partnership for Action on Green Economy, hosted by UN Environment, is set to step up its support for developing countries, thanks to new donations announced at the conference. Contributions from the European Commission, Germany, Finland, Republic of Korea, Norway and Sweden will add close to €15 million to the Partnership's budget.
The Partnership has been further enriched by welcoming two new member countries in its ranks: Uruguay and Guyana. Both states have shown unparalleled leadership on inclusive green economy by including green goals and targets into their national and local development and climate action plans.
Inclusive Wealth Index
UN Environment will release later this year its bi-annual Inclusive Wealth Report, which measures the wealth of nations in terms of progress, well-being and long-term sustainability. Going beyond conventional measures of economic performance such as Gross Domestic Product, the Inclusive Wealth Index takes into account all the assets that contribute to human well-being, including manufactured, human and natural capital.
A preview of the report, unveiled in Berlin, finds that between 1990 and 2014, more than 75 per cent of the 202 countries analysed are depleting or barely maintaining their natural capital. It means that less than one quarter of the world's countries have managed to increase the value of their agriculture, land, forest resources, fossil fuels, minerals and fisheries. The preview concludes that countries are drawing down their natural wealth to create short term gains in GDP.
Virtual Solutions Centre for Green Growth
Also in Berlin, the Green Growth Knowledge Platform is launching the Virtual Policy Solutions Centre which builds on two new tools: the Best Practices Database and the Green Growth Expert Connect. It is generously supported by the Governments of Germany and Switzerland, as well as the Partnership for Action on Green Economy, and will provide policy makers with direct access to the world’s leading green economy experts and over 150 case studies and best practices on how to ensure a stable, equitable and green growth.
About the Partnership for Action on Green Economy
The Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) was launched in 2013 at the Rio+20 Conference in response to the call to support those countries wishing to embark on greener and more inclusive growth trajectories. PAGE seeks to put sustainability at the heart of economic policies and practices to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and supports nations and regions in reframing economic policies and practices around sustainability to foster economic growth, create income and jobs, reduce poverty and inequality, and strengthen the ecological foundations of their economies.
PAGE brings together five UN agencies – UN Environment, International Labour Organization, UN Development Programme, UN Industrial Development Organization, and UN Institute for Training and Research – whose mandates, expertise and networks combined can offer integrated and holistic support to countries on inclusive green economy, ensuring coherence and avoiding duplication. PAGE represents a mechanism to coordinate UN action on green economy and to assist countries in achieving and monitoring the emerging Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 8: "Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all."