18 June 2012 | EN | 中文
Some developing countries are concerned about the impacts of green economy policies
[RIO DE JANEIRO] The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has launched a consultation with developing countries on green growth — just as these countries have been criticising the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) negotiations for being disproportionately dominated by the idea.
The consultation, 'Green Growth and Developing Countries', was launched yesterday (17 June) at the Fair Ideas Forum, a Rio+20 side event, organised by the International Institute for Environment and Development.
It will comprise high level discussions on a green economy draft document, to begin this week at the Rio+20 summit (20–22 June).
The concept of a green economy — one of two principal themes at the summit — has been heavily criticised by some developing countries.
This article is part of our coverage of preparations for Rio+20 — the UN Conference on Sustainable Development — which takes place on 20-22 June 2012. For other articles, go to Science at Rio+20
The broad idea is to find ways of reconciling environmental goals with economic growth and poverty reduction — but it is open to many interpretations.
For example, there are fears that green economy policies could lead to economic adjustments imposed by the North, the erection of new trade barriers that would work against developing countries, and the corporate takeover of their natural resources.
Ivan Turok, deputy executive director at the Human Science Research Council, South Africa, told the Forum for Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development, in Brazil last week (11–15 June), that the phrase was "very seductive", promising the best of both economics and environment.
But the problem is that the phrase has multiple definitions, said Turok. He cited both claims from the UN Environment Programme that the green economy represented a "new economic paradigm", and claims from the World Bank that it did not.
Turok pointed out that the mechanisms proposed for achieving the green economy — including markets and pricing, government subsidies and regulation, government investment, capacity building, and stakeholder partnerships and collaboration — contradicted each other.
Tim Jackson, professor of sustainable development at the University of Surrey, United Kingdom, told the Fair Ideas Forum that "if we are not honest about addressing the [green economy-related] tensions" between developing and developed countries, the phrase would not just be "meaningless, but also dangerous".
At yesterday's launch, Serge Tomasi, deputy director of the OECD's Development Co-operation Directorate, said: "It is true that developing countries have had some concerns".
But he added that many developing countries are changing their minds, and "the situation is moving very quickly".
Kevin Urama, executive director of the African Technology Policy Studies Network, told the meeting: "green growth is about the only option for developing countries to achieve sustainable development. It's just a way of saying: 'use your resources better'".
"If African countries don't [value and deploy their natural resources] they will have more foreigners grabbing their assets."
Both Urama and Tomasi said that the green economy's nebulous definition could be advantageous, because it would enable nations to define it for themselves and to plan how to achieve it according to their specific circumstances.
But they said that while much could be achieved at national level, an expression of support for the concept in the Rio+20 outcome agreement would be useful, because it would have a trickle-down influence on decision-making.
greeney ( New Zealand )
20 June 2012
The UN should set long term goals then allow field people to work out ways of achieving those goals. By restoring profitability to the rural sector affects the whole economy of third world countries. improve the farms financial performance by soil and moisture conservation and controlling runoff by using the vetiver system of hedges across the slope - just look at our website, www.vetiver.org we have used this system for over 25 years now for rainfed farmers in over 120 countries throughout the tropics without a single failure.
We have sustainably increased yields by over 50% and controlled erosion just by controlling runoff.In a region where productivity depends on the weather, the vetiver system is a sensible solution to a practical problem.You have to deal with people as they are rather than as economists would like them to be.
No man’s knowledge can go beyond his experience, the volunteer members of the vetiver network are all very experienced field people and farmers, the King of Thailand is our greatest advocate, he was the first country leader who could see that after everything else failed the vetiver system as the only solution to poverty reduction for his subsistence rainfed farmers.
Thousands of kilometres of vetiver hedges have been planted along river banks in Vietnam to control erosion; thousands of kilometres of vetiver hedges are protecting road cuttings and bridge abutments throughout South and SE Asia; South;Africa; South America;Australia, India.
The vetiver system has the full approval of governments throughout the world, including the USDA. Once the hedges are established, they are permanent,needing little if any maintenance and they will grow in any soil in the tropics. They involve virtually no cost apart from planting slips, and as a clonal infertile plant it will only grow where man plants it and never become a weed, once established the hedges will last decades with no maitenance.
G.Srinivasan ( India )
27 June 2012
Well, the time has come to do serious work on preserving the planet we all live. There is no point in blaming the rich world for having squandered all the resources in their path to progress, making developing world march to progress a bit intractable. Developing world can look for experience, resources and expertise from the rich world in the latter's enlightened self-interest. Global developmental institutions mostly housed by rich members should come out with some concrete proposals to ensure development of the developing countries with least danger to environment by recognizing the latter's aspirations. What it all amounts to ultimately is how statesmen across the world sit together to ensure that posterity is not condemned to costly failure of the extant generation by its persistent folly of indulging in a consumption pattern that is far from sustainable and also quite harmful. G.Srinivasan. New Delhi
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