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Steiner on Green Economy: Is it a Solution and what are the Implications for Rio+20?

New York, 17 May 2010 - H E Ambassador Peter Wittig of the Federal Republic of Germany

H E Ambassador Abdullah M. Alsaidi of the Republic of Yemen

Distinguished delegates, members of the United Nations family, ladies and gentlemen,

Two years ago, UNEP launched the Global Green New Deal/Green Economy Initiative, as nations around the world struggled with successive food and fuel price surges and persistent environmental challenges, compounded by a deep financial and economic crisis.

The basic thrust behind the Green Economy thinking is that the economic models of the 20th century are unlikely to assist in achieving the multiple goals the international community has set ranging from combating climate change to supplying freshwater, sufficient food and overcoming poverty.

Indeed it is clear that a fresh and more sophisticated lens and strategy is needed if we are collectively thrive, let alone survive over the coming years and decades.

A Global Green New Deal report, released to coincide with UNEP's annual gathering of environment ministers in February last year, recommended that one per cent of global GDP or somewhere under a third of the global stimulus packages, might assist in seeding a process of transformational change.

Such investment, allied to smart policy reforms, market mechanisms and creative fiscal measures, could set the stage for a transition to a low carbon, far more resource efficient global Green Economy.

More importantly, it could make a significant contribution to reducing poverty and expanding the range of economic, social and environmental benefits that our society could generate from a better management of our "natural capital".

Many Governments shared the idea of the Green New deal

These principles, vision, goals and arguments gained traction across capital cities world-wide.

Indeed, many governments responded to this call by allocating, to various degrees, portions of their fiscal stimulus to green economic sectors such as renewable energies and energy efficiency improvements, sustainable agriculture, and better management of water and waste.

The Republic of Korea was particularly engaged in this respect, having earmarked $31 billion, over 80 per cent of its total stimulus to Green New Deal.

The Republic of Korea went further by expanding its Green New Deal and turning it into a full Five-Year Plan for Green Growth, with a commitment to spend 2 per cent of GDP over the next five years.

I would like to stress here that while a large junk of fiscal stimulus emanated in developed countries, it was not confined there.

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Further Resources

UNEP: Green Economy Initiative

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)

The Green Economy preview report

Global Green New Deal - G20 Update


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