Regional Symposium on Low Carbon Economy: Trade, Investment and Climate Change

Trade and environment policy makers and experts from 12 Asian-Pacific countries participated in a two day Regional Symposium on Low Carbon Economy in Bali, Indonesia organized by UN ESCAP. They discussed green trade/investment and climate policy issues for achieving sustainable development.

“The biggest challenge is how to mitigate climate change without compromising economic growth and prosperity”, Ravi Ratnayake, Director of the Trade and Investment Division of ESCAP told the meeting. “Trade and investment in low-carbon or climate-smart goods and technologies can play a very important role in this regard”.

He added that climate change mitigation and adaptation measures could create business opportunities. Markets for these products are expanding, particularly in Asia-Pacific developing countries. This is an area where developing countries can capture the first-mover advantage and diversify their export structure as well as market destinations.

In her welcome address, Ms. Sulistyowati, Director, Climate Change Impact Control, Ministry of Environment of Indonesia, said combating climate change is not about costs to the economy but an investment in renewable, clean-tech and natural resources management of economies which will enable countries to generate low carbon footprint wealth.

The Symposium which ended yesterday emphasized that measures to mitigate climate change should not undermine national development and economic growth targets and be in accordance with each country’s capacity. Some countries, in particular least developed countries, need better access to finance and technologies.

It was observed that an enabling business and investment environment could promote investment in low-carbon or climate-smart goods and technologies while markets for such products needed further development. Barriers to trade and investment in such goods and technologies needed to be identified and reduced or eliminated.

Participants agreed that policies should be coordinated at national and regional levels for a win-win-win scenario promoting trade and economic growth as well as climate change mitigation.

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