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At the global level, the Rio+20 Summit in 2012 called for the adoption of a green economy. Asia and the Pacific have pioneered the concept of green growth since 2005. Green growth was brought into the context of intergovernmental discussions for the first time at the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development (MCED) in Asia and the Pacific held in 2005 in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The meeting issued the Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Development, which adopted green growth as a strategy for achieving sustainable development. Green growth, or environmentally sustainable economic growth as defined by the Ministerial Declaration at MCED 5, is a strategy of sustaining economic growth and job creation necessary to reduce poverty in the face of worsening resource constraints and climate crisis. 

A growth paradigm that invests in human and natural capital to turn trade-off between the three dimensions of sustainable development into synergy is critical for achieving sustainable development. Green growth is a strategy of investing in natural capital, thus making “green” a driver of economic growth that is ecologically sustainable. Green growth can also be used as an efficient strategy to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

With the COVID-19 pandemic evolving from a public health concern to an environmental and socio-economic crisis, the world is turning to green recovery. In efforts to contain the outbreak, nations around the world initially focused largely on public health measures. However, due to the inextricably intertwined nature of public health, economy, and its environmental implications, world leaders have begun to introduce mid to long term economic stimulus packages that are inclusive as well as sustainable. For a green recovery that will significantly enhance the resilience of the economy and environment, policies that support the fossil fuel industry or incentives for environmentally damaging activities must be restructured. The current pandemic presents a unique opportunity to review current economic and environmental strategies.  One of the most pressing environmental issues: climate change, and green recovery measures, go hand in hand in the face of an unprecedented set of challenges. We are at this critical juncture of making sure economic recovery also includes resilient, sustainable, and inclusive green policies.

Knowledge products and Learning Tools

The Environment and Development Division (EDD) develops knowledge products that support policy makers in Asia and the Pacific to implement green, inclusive, and sustainable development in the region. The promotion of economic growth that fosters low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially-inclusive development is a key focus of the secretariat’s research and analytical work, policy advocacy, and capacity development activity.

In this regard, EDD continues to perform analytical research on the effectiveness of green policies adopted by the Member States, for example through developing policy briefs as part of the Seoul Initiative Network on Green Growth project and through the production of the “Greening Economic Growth” series. This will, in turn, shine significant lights on how the Asia Pacific region contributes to meeting NDC targets and climate change.

Intergovernmental processes and regional dialogues

EDD facilitates a regional platform to exchange experiences and best practices on issues related to sustainable and inclusive growth: the annual Policy Dialogue Forum of the SINGG project. The forum has been providing opportunities for member States to share their experience and lessons learned from the policy implementation for more than 15 years.

In the face of COVID-19 and its unprecedented economic impacts, EDD offers insights as to how Asia Pacific nations can rebuild inclusive and resilient future, including air quality, ecosystem, climate change, and urban sustainability at its core.

 

Technical support and capacity building

EDD provides technical support on the development of integrated environmental policies in particular areas, from designing holistic strategies to technical advice on policy implementation.

For example, EDD continues supporting member States in Asia and the Pacific in addressing their environmental issues by providing policy strategy or technical advice through Seoul Initiative Network on Green Growth project since 2005.

Member States’ experience and challenges in implementing green recovery measures are shared through a peer-learning platform.