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Countries Representing Four Fifths of the Global Economy Back Green Growth

UNEP Head Applauds Green Investment Declaration Signalling Fresh and Fundamental Trend Towards Sustainable 21st Century

Geneva 26 June, 2009 - Achim Steiner, the head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), today welcomed the 'Green Growth' Declaration by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) saying it underlined the way environment was rapidly being brought into the centre of economic discourse and policy-making.

Ministers from 40 countries said: "Well targeted policy instruments can be used to encourage green investment in order to simultaneously contribute to economic recovery in the short-term and help to build the environmentally-friendly infrastructure required in the long term—the crisis should not be used as an excuse to postpone crucial decisions for the future of the planet".

The Ministers, representing the 30 OECD member countries along with five who are candidates for membership plus Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa, called on the OECD to work with a wide-range of partners including international organizations to develop a Green Growth Strategy "to achieve economic recovery and environmentally and socially sustainable economic growth".

They also underlined their determination to realize an "ambitious, effective, efficient, comprehensive and fair international post-2012 climate agreement" at the UN climate convention meeting in Copenhagen, December as a key building block.

In a wide-ranging Declaration, the ministers also called for greater cooperation over low carbon, clean-tech including renewable energies and green information and communications technologies to assist in realizing a sustainable 21st century.

Mr Steiner, who addressed the ministerial meeting on Thursday, said UNEP stood ready to work with the OECD in shaping and delivering the Green Growth Strategy over the next 12 months underlining the way it dovetails with UNEP's Global Green New Deal/Green Economy initiative.

"It is encouraging to see so many countries, representing 80 per cent of the global economy, putting their collective political will behind the transformational opportunities of embracing Green Growth within a Green Economy," said the UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director.

"Their statement also underlines their determination to unleash the market and empower the private sector via effective policy mixes, such as fiscal instruments, incentives and creative regulations in order to realize low carbon, resource efficient, development" said Mr Steiner.

"We are talking about a paradigm shift in policy," said Korean Prime Minister Han Seung-Soo, who chaired the meeting. "Technological development and actions to protect the environment and combat climate change can also be harnessed in favour of economic growth."

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said: "Looking beyond the crisis, OECD countries and countries that we hope will shortly swell our numbers have made a solemn pledge to promote environmentally friendly green growth policies in favour of sustainable economic growth based on low carbon energy use," he told a closing news conference.

"We have recognized the importance of well-targeted policy instruments encouraging green investment to contribute to both short-term economic recovery and long-term green infrastructure. This is a significant signal and staging post on the road to what we hope will be an ambitious agreement on climate change in Copenhagen at the end of the year," said Mr Gurría

The OECD Ministerial Declaration Green Growth came as more than 20 UN agencies meeting in New York issued a statement mirroring the one unveiled in Paris

"Investing stimulus funds in such sectors as energy efficient technologies, renewable energy, public transport, sustainable agriculture, environmentally friendly tourism, and the sustainable management of natural resources including ecosystems and biodiversity, reflects the conviction that a green economy can create dynamic new industries, quality jobs, and income growth while mitigating and adapting to climate change and arresting biodiversity decline," said the UN agencies and multilateral environmental agreements.

These, it said, "can potentially contribute to economic recovery, decent job creation, and reduced threats of food, water, energy, ecosystem and climate crises, which have disproportionate impacts on the poor."

Notes to Editors:

The OECD Declaration on Green Growth http://www.olis.oecd.org/olis/2009doc.nsf/LinkTo/NT00004886/$FILE/JT03267277.PDF

The Green Economy Interagency Statement of the UN System http://www.unep.org/pdf/pressreleases/Green_Economy_Joint_Statement.pdf

UNEP's Global Green New Deal/Green Economy initiative http://www.unep.org/greeneconomy/

For More Information Please Contact: Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson and Head of Media, on Tel: +254 20 7623084, Mobile: +254 733 632755, or when traveling: +41 795965737, or e-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org




Further Resources

UN Agencies 'Deliver as One' To Realize a Green Economy - UNEP Press Release

Green Economy Interagency Statement of the UN System - pdf

UNEP: Energy Branch

SEFI: UNEP Sustainable Energy Finance Initiative

SEFI: Global Trends Report 2009

UNEP: Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE)


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