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Poverty reduction through green growth

Aug 09, 2011

Investing just 2% of the global GDP a year into ten key sectors can kick-start transition towards low carbon, resource efficient green economies, says Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication a new report by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication

Published by: UNEP 2011

The study models the outcomes of investing around $1.3 trillion a year, roughly equivalent to 2% of global GDP, into green investments across ten key sectors. The report claims this investment, backed by forward-looking national and international policies, would lead to similar or higher global economic growth than forecast under current economic models.

Towards A green Economy (UNEP).jpg

It challenges the myth of a trade-off between environmental investments and economic growth and sees a green economy as not only relevant to more developed economies but as a key catalyst for growth and poverty eradication in developing ones too, where in some cases close to 90% of the GDP of the poor is linked to nature or natural capital such as forests and freshwaters.

The study cites examples like India, where over 80% of the $8 billion National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which underwrites at least 100 days of paid work for rural households, is invested in water conservation, irrigation and land development. This has generated three billion working days-worth of employment benefiting close to 60 million households.

The report highlights that greening of economies is a net generator of decent jobs and a vital strategy to eliminate persistent poverty. The report also seeks to motivate policy makers to create the enabling conditions for increased investments in a transition to a green economy in three ways:

• By making an economic case for shifting both public and private investment to transform key sectors that are critical to greening the global economy. It illustrates through examples how added employment through green jobs offsets job losses in transition to a green economy.

• By showing how a green economy can reduce persistent poverty across a range of important sectors – agriculture, forestry, freshwater, fisheries and energy. Sustainable forestry and ecologically friendly farming methods help conserve soil fertility and water resources. This is especially critical for subsistence farming, upon which almost 1.3 billion people depend for their livelihoods.

• By providing guidance on policies to achieve this shift by reducing or eliminating environmentally harmful subsidies, addressing market failures created by lack of information, creating market-based incentives, implementing appropriate regulatory frameworks, initiating green public procurement and by stimulating investment.

Read the press release here...

Source : UNEP
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