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Speech by Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) at meeting of OECD Council at Ministerial Level on the Theme - The Crisis and Beyond: building a stronger, cleaner, fairer world economy

Sub Theme - Green Growth

Paris, 24 June 2009 - Angel Gurria, Secretary General of the OECD, distinguished ministers, ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for inviting me to speak at the OECD Council's ministerial segment.

The topic of Green Growth is dear to my heart, as a development economist as I am sure it is to many of you here today.

It has become a leitmotif for UNEP's work in the past 12 months under our Global Green New Deal/Green Economy initiative launched last October.

An initiative that, in cooperation with economists and more than 20 UN agencies, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the OECD proposed via a policy brief that one third of the then $2.5 trillion should be earmarked for environmental investments.

This policy brief was presented to environment ministers in February and is just one example of a blossoming cooperation between UNEP and OECD in this and related fields.

Honourable ministers, we are living in historic times.

If the recent food price, fuel, financial and economic crises have taught us anything it is that narrow definitions of growth and narrow objectives for growth are unlikely to serve society well in the 21st century.

Indeed if we take the Green out of growth we are in danger of repeating the mistakes of the past which have lead in large part to the current economic crisis.

For the crises of the here and now will pale besides the ones to come if you layer on top of food and fuel, the climate and looming natural resource scarcity crises on a planet of six billion, rising to over nine billion by 2050.

And there is an employment challenge too—even before recent events, 1.3 billion people were under-employed or unemployed with half a billion young people globally set to be seeking work over the next 10 years.

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Further Resources

UNEP: Green Economy Initiative


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