UNEP Report : Green Economy can reduce poverty and help meet Millennium Development Goals
New York, 20 September 2010 - Investing in clean energy, sustainable transport, forests and environmentally-friendly agriculture is essential, if internationally-agreed goals to reduce poverty are to be achieved.
This is among the central conclusions of A Brief for Policymakers on the Green Economy and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), launched today as heads of state and ministers meet at the UN Headquarters to review progress to date - five years before the MDG deadline of 2015.
Environmental degradation is making it more difficult for governments to achieve Millennium Development Goals such as improving maternal health, providing safe drinking water and combating hunger and disease.
Conversely some countries and communities are finding that environmental improvements, catalyzed by deliberate policy choices; smart investments and often private sector partnerships can be a big part of the solution, the new study claims.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said: "There is rapidly growing evidence that accelerating a transition to a low carbon, resource efficient, employment-generating Green Economy may not only be the key to meeting sustainability challenges of the 21st century, but also provide a considerable contribution to meeting other MDGs.
The report - compiled by UNEP's Green Economy team - cites numerous cases where green strategies are paying multiple dividends in respect to the eight MDGs.
Policies and investments in Costa Rica have triggered an expansion of protected areas and national parks, now covering over 25 per cent of the country's total land area.
- Since this strategy was adopted there has been a boom in eco-tourism attracting over one million visitors a year and generating USD $5 million annually in entrance fees alone. Studies indicate that communities living in or near national parks have higher wages, employment rates and lower rates of poverty.