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Green economy: a path towards sustainable development and poverty eradication

Ecology, economy, and equity. Those are the key points in a Green Economy. Those are the pathway to a wealthy and inclusive nation.

For the past few years, the use of term “Green Economy” has increased and has e.g. been used by the UN, heads of state, the EU, and OECD to explain the nexus between sustainability, economics and the environment. In fact, a transition towards a Green Economy is exactly what is needed to achieve multiple Sustainable Development Goals – both goals on climate action, but also on economic growth, justice, and well-being. Creating a sustainable and green economies, more jobs, and a healthy planet for all, where no one is left behind, is the objective of conference Stockholm+50 in June 2022.

 

What is green economy?

Birds standing on a cliff
Photo: Kristin Snippe/Unsplash

A green economy is defined as low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. In a green economy, growth in employment and income are driven by public and private investment into such economic activities, infrastructure and assets that allow reduced carbon emissions and pollution, enhanced energy and resource efficiency, and prevention of the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. A green economy means investments in renewable energy, such as solar power, onshore and offshore wind power, hydrogen, electric vehicles, and energy efficient homes.

The notion of green economy does not replace sustainable development, but creates a new focus on the economy, investment, capital and infrastructure, employment and skills and positive social and environmental outcomes.

A green economy is strongly interlinked with SDG 13, Climate Action, but, moreover, it aims attention at life quality with people at the centre.

 

The four dimensions of green economies

A green economy prioritizes health of the planet and of the people, and regards these as interlinked. Prioritization and implementation of the green initiative also help countries achieve multiple sustainable development goals.

SDG 3: Good health and well-being

Major investments in the energy sector and environmental sector would result in job creation for hundreds of thousands of jobs. The concentration on clean energy and growing wealth all supports the expansion of natural, human, and social capital, thus offering work opportunities for green livelihoods, companies, and organizations. Moreover, the sectorial activities will create potential for training, sustainable infrastructure and education for all people to prosper.

 

SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

The green economy and its economic and social advantages are supported by evidence. To get a successful green economy, institutions need to be interdisciplinary – deploying science, economics, knowledge across sectors and local know-how. By including the different aspects of communities, a green economy will build a financial system that serve the interests of society by promoting local economies, while maintaining common standards and procedures.

 

SDG 13: Climate action

Plastic bottles in a bag
Photo: OCG Saving the ocean/Unsplash

A green recovery safeguards, restores and invests in nature; a crucial detail in green economies is climate mitigation and restoration of biodiversity. Due to the limited sustainability of natural capital, recovery and growth of water, soil and natural systems are a high priority. Furthermore, a green economy is strongly linked with circular economy: a model of production and consumption which involves recycling and reusing materials and products for as long as possible.

 

SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production

The green economy is interlinked with circular economy. Regarding consumption, there ought to be a shift to reduce consumption of natural resources to sustainable levels. An inclusive economy incorporates and embraces modern models of economic development whose objective is to create prosperity within planetary boundaries.

 

The United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, works with the term Green Economy and encourages implementation of a greener agenda in developing countries. The main areas of their work are focus on green finance, technology and investments, and advocacy of macro-economic approach to sustainable economic growth through regional, sub-regional and national fora. At last, UNEP provides support to countries in terms of development and mainstreaming of macro-economic policies to support the transition to a Green Economy. One of the countries is Kenya.

 

Kenya: feed-in tariffs

Kenya has one of the most dynamic economies in Africa, yet it is facing a number of pressing economic, environmental and social challenges. From climate change and natural resource depletion to high poverty rates and rising unemployment, the country is addressing these concerns through its commitment to a low-carbon and resource-efficient development pathway.

Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya.
Photo: Amani Nation/Unsplash

UNEP iterated that government policy has an essential role to play in enhancing incentives for investing in renewable energy. One way of doing this is by enforcing time-bound incentives, subsidies, tax credits, and feed-in tariffs. The latter has been implemented in more than 30 developed countries and in 17 developing countries. Kenya introduced a feed-in tariff on electricity generated from wind, biomass and small hydropower in 2008, and extended the tariffs in 2010 to include geothermal, biogas and solar energy.

As with any kind of positive support, the design of feed-in tariffs is crucial for determining their success, depending on issues such as time periods for support, graduated tariff decreases over time, minimum or maximum capacity limits.

 

Stockholm+50

These green investments need to be enabled and supported through targeted public expenditure, policy reforms and changes in taxation and regulation.

Stockholm+50 The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in 2021 to bring the global environmental community together for a major international environmental meeting on June 2 and 3 2022, the week of World Environment Day. The event will provide leaders with an opportunity to draw on 50 years of multilateral environmental action to achieve the bold and urgent action needed to secure a better future on a healthy planet.

By recognizing the importance of multilateralism in tackling the Earth’s triple planetary crisis – climate, nature, and pollution – the event will act as a springboard accelerate the implementation of the UN Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, including the 2030 Agenda, and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

To learn more about SDGs, climate mitigation, multilateral cooperation in the environmental sector, see here:

Stockholm+50.

Sustainable infrastructure to battle climate change (unric.org)

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