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Remarks by Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director at Opening of the Business 4 the Environment Summit

Opportunities and Uncertainties Towards Green Economic Recovery

Seoul, 22 April 2010 -Ladies and gentlemen,

B4E returns to Asia amidst an international landscape that is on the one hand full of optimism as some economies seize the sustainability agenda.

And on the other, perhaps more opaque; more uncertain and more fractured than in 2009, not least on the challenge of climate change.

The global economy is certainly now showing signs of recovery perhaps and in particular in Asia.

The question is whether this will be a Green Economy Recovery in 21st century with an emphasis on low carbon, clean tech, resource efficient sectors and services.

Or whether it is one that, despite some notable national exceptions, looks backwards or at the very least maintains the vacuum of the status quo.

Good News for the Green Economy

First the positive news: Some economies have put the financial and economic crisis to good use.

Last year, UNEP presented its Green New Deal policy brief to its annual gathering of environment ministers.

It recommended that one per cent of GDP, invested in green investments, could go a long way to revving-up the global economy while stimulating low carbon, resource efficient sectors; generating employment and setting the stage for a more sustainable development path.

Professor Edward Barbier, one of the authors of the UNEP brief and a leading environmental economist, has assessed how far countries have so far gone.

  • Of the $3 trillion spent or earmarked globally for the fiscal stimulus, just over $460 billion is aimed at green investments.

  • This is equal to around 15 per cent of the total fiscal stimulus or around 0.7 per cent of the G20's GDP.

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