Underpinning all dimensions of the Green Economy Initiative (GEI) is a focus on robust economic research and policy analysis. In addition to relying on in-house capacity, the GEI is leveraging significant green economy expertise within its global network of partners, which includes other UN organizations, academic institutes, think tanks, businesses, and environmental groups. This emerging “community of practice” has expertise in:

  • Analysing challenges and opportunities in specific green sectors, including agriculture, cities, fisheries, forests, green buildings, industry, renewable energy, tourism, transport, waste management and water;
  • Generating quantitative analysis and developing macroeconomic models that assess the impact of green investments; and
  • Identifying the enabling conditions and policy options for making a shift towards a green economy.

Most GEI research efforts are currently focused on the development of GEI’s flagship product, the Green Economy Report, and managing the development of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity series of reports.  The Green Economy Report builds on two other research products the Global Green New Deal Policy Brief, and the Green Jobs Report.

Other GEI research activities are focused on providing support for GEI’s national and regional advisory services  and partnership initiatives.

Read more in the Green Economy Research flyer

GEI Research Reports


Green Economy in the Context of Vision 2030 - Jamaica

This briefing paper documents Jamaica’s existing support for the green economy within national policy and recommends how this support can be strengthened. In Jamaican policy the concept of the green economy is embedded in the country’s national development plan, Vision 2030 Jamaica.

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Uncovering Pathways Towards an Inclusive Green Economy: A Summary for Leaders

This report speaks to the multiple benefits – economic, health, security, social and environmental – that such an economic model can bring to humanity. An inclusive green economy sees growth in income and employment from investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution. 
The IGE Narrative expands and deepens substantially the focus of UNEP's earlier work on green economy. 

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   The Green Economy Progress measurement framework – Draft for consultation

UNEP is developing a Green Economy Progress (GEP) measurement framework to help countries evaluate their overall progress towards an inclusive green economy and to allow cross-country comparison of efforts. In its current version, the GEP measurement framework is composed of a Green Economy Progress index (GEP index) and a companion dashboard of green economy sustainability indicators.
Please send any comments on this working paper to Mr. Jose Pineda ( and Ms. Gisele Mueller ( by the deadline of 16 November 2015. Thank you.

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  Recent Policies and Measures for a Worldwide Green Transition

This paper is one of several research products mandated by the 2013 China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) Task Force on the Evaluation of Green Transition in China.

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  Multiple Pathways to Sustainable Development: Initial Findings from the Global South

This report serves as a starting point to address the calls from Rio+20 and the Governing Council to share the South’s various experiences and national-level initiatives for transitioning to sustainable and socially inclusive economies.

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Indicators for Green Economy Policy Making – A Synthesis Report of Studies in Ghana, Mauritius and Uruguay

This report, “Indicators for Green Economy Policy Making – A Synthesis Report of Studies in Ghana, Mauritius and Uruguay”, shares the knowledge and lessons learned in using indicators for green economy policymaking in three different national contexts. The three countries’ experiences illustrate how UNEP’s Green Economy Indicators Framework – which is based on a theoretical policy cycle – works in reality.

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Building Inclusive Green Economies in Africa - Experience and Lessons Learned 2010-2015

This synthesis report provides an overview of where Africa, as a region, stands in terms of transitioning to an inclusive green economy. It draws on recent studies to summarise the prospective gains and challenges associated with investing in a green economy and outlines a way forward to prioritise policy reforms, with a specific section on how to turn strategies and practices challenges into opportunities. Collectively, this report highlights how a transition to a green economy may be achieved within a range of country conditions.

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A guidance manual for green economy policy assessment

The Green Economy Toolkit for Policymakers produced under PAGE provides countries with practical guidance on how to formulate and assess policies, measure progress and model future effects of the transition. The toolkit consists of three reports, where the guidance manual for green economy policy assessment advises governments on how to set targets, identify policy reform needs, estimate the amount of investment and assess policy impacts.

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A guidance manual for green economy indicators

As part of the Green Economy Toolkit for Policymakers produced under PAGE,  The guidance manual for green economy indicators explores the use of indicators to measure progress towards a more resource-efficient and inclusive economy. The report provides practical guidance on how to use indicators in specific national contexts.

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Download this report (Spanish)


Using models for green economy policymaking

Using models for green economy policymaking concerns macroeconomic planning for both short and long term, and provides countries with a range of modelling tools for formulating and evaluating the impacts of green economy policies. The report is part of the PAGE Green Economy toolkit for policymakers.

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Measuring the Environmental Goods and Services Sector: Issues and Challenges

As an increasing number of countries adopt green economy strategies, there is a need to support them in measuring the magnitude of this new economy. A new paper on Measuring the Environmental Goods and Services Sector: Issues and Challenges will guide the discussion.

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Inclusive green growth in Zambia Scoping the needs and potentials  

A new report published by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) describes efforts to develop Zambia's Inclusive Green Growth Strategy under its Sixth National Development Plan. The report highlights the changing international policy and financial context for inclusive green growth, reports on a workshop and proposes initial steps to advance the strategy.

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Visit the IIED website

Development strategies of selected Latin American and Caribbean countries and the green economy approach

This publication explores the commonalities between the existing and proposed paradigms and approaches to development that ensures well-being and respect for nature, and the concept of green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. More specifically, the study examines the opinions expressed by Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela, with regard to the adoption of a green economy as a pathway towards sustainable development.

Download the paper in [English] [Spanish

Smallholders, food security, and the environment 

Backing and enabling smallholders can unleash a new and sustainable agricultural revolution. The report aims to improve understanding among policymakers and practitioners of the relationships between smallholders, food security and the environment, and makes a series of recommendations. The report was released as part of the celebrations of World Environment Day (WED), whose global host this year is the government and people of Mongolia.

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Moving towards a Common Approach on Green Growth Indicators  

This work is the result of coordinated efforts by the Global Green Growth Institute, OECD, UNEP, and the World Bank as part of the GGKP’s program on green growth measurement and indicators. In offering a conceptual framework for green growth indicators, this preliminary report marks the first time that the participating international organisations have shared a joint vision for a set of indicators that can help communicate the central elements of green growth and green economy. The indicators alert governments and citizens to pressing issues where policy action and societal responses are needed to address the environmental challenges.

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Investing in Water for a Green Economy: Services, Infrastructure, Policies and Management

In the context of the economies of the world becoming greener, this book provides a global and interdisciplinary overview of the condition of the world’s water resources and the infrastructure used to manage it. It focuses on current social and economic costs of water provision, needs and opportunities for investment and for improving its management. It describes the large array of water policy challenges facing the world, including the Millennium Development Goals for clean water and sanitation, and shows how these might be met.

Order a paper copy here

Water Chapter from Green Economy Report

This chapter identifies the contributions that water can play in assisting a transition to a green economy. It makes the case for early investment in water management and infrastructure to make greater use of biodiversity and ecosystem services. It also provides guidance on the government arrangements and policy reforms that can sustain and increase the benefits associated with such a transition. 

Tourism in the Green Economy: Background Report  

This publication is an expanded version of the Tourism chapter of the Green Economy Report which makes an economic case for investing in the greening of tourism and provides guidance on how to mobilize such investments. The objective is to motivate policy makers to support increased investment in greening the sector. This report was developed as a partnership between UNEP and UNWTO.

Read the Tourism Chapter of the Green Economy Report

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Green Economy: Developing Countries Success Stories 

The economic analysis in the Green Economy Report builds in part on the encouraging signs and results of many initiatives around the world. A number of these come from developing countries, including emerging economies, and illustrate the positive benefits from specific green investments and policies. This, if scaled up and integrated into a comprehensive strategy, could offer an alternative development path, one that is pro-growth and pro-jobs. A limited selection from a growing range of experiences in different sectors, are summarized below, highlighting their economic, social and environmental benefits.

Read Green Economy: Developing Countries Success Stories (Collection of 8 stories)

Measuring Progress towards an Inclusive Green Economy

Read full report     Read Press Release 

This publication intends to foster a better understanding and utilization of green economy indicators. It is a practical guidebook that looks at how indicators can be used in a way that specifically supports and tracks green economy policies. Green economy indicators provide a mirror on the journey to an environmentally stable, economically sound and equitable society. If countries, communities and businesses are seriously committed to moving towards a green economy to achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication, they should consider establishing new measures and metrics that not only reflect these goals, but also inspire action.

 Working towards sustainable development: Opportunities for decent work and social inclusion in a green economy

This joint ILO/UNEP study shows that, if accompanied by the right policy mix, a green economy can also create more and better jobs, lift people out of poverty and promote social inclusion. It also demonstrates that employment and social inclusion must be an integral part of any sustainable development strategy. 

 Measuring China’s Environmental industry

Measuring progress is vital to green economy strategies. In this regard, the accounting framework for the environmental goods and services sector (EGSS) is an essential factor when it comes to quantifying the performance of an economy’s environmental sectors. It offers a structured approach to defining and measuring how green sectors develop, and it also makes it possible to compare statistics from different countries.

A Green Economy in the Context of Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication: What are the Implications for Africa?


  Working towards a Balanced and Inclusive Green Economy

In September 2009 the United Nations Environment Management Group agreed to establish an Issue Management Group on Green Economy. This group was tasked to prepare a report to assess how the United Nations system could coherently support countries in transitioning to a green economy. The report is expected to facilitate a common understanding of the green economy approach and the measures required for the transition.

Press release 

Forests in a Green Economy: A Synthesis

Produced during the International Year of Forests, this synthesis addresses the value of forests and their role in transitioning to a green economy. The synthesis lays out compelling information for the forestry sector, governments, private sector and civil society to invest in forests to aid the realization of a more socially inclusive, low-carbon and resource efficient economy.


 Why a Green Economy Matters for Least Developed Countries

This joint report, issued by UNEP, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), points to the economic and human development opportunities of a green economy transition for the world’s least developed countries (LDCs).

The Transition to a Green Economy: Benefits, Challenges and Risks from a Sustainable Development Perspective - A Report by Panel of Experts 

Produced by UN-DESA, UNEP and UNCTAD, this publication contains three papers. The first one, by José Antonio Ocampo, looks at the macroeconomic policy implications of the transition to the green economy. The second, by Aaron Cosbey, focuses on the interlinked issues of trade, investment and technology. The third, by Martin Khor, considers the risks that this concept generates for developing countries and the domestic and international policies necessary to promote the green economy in these countries according to the principles of sustainable development.

Patents and clean energy: bridging the gap between evidence and policy

This pioneering study examines the role of patents in combating climate change and highlights trends in clean energy technology development.

A Brief for Policymakers on the Green Economy and Millennium Development Goals

This UNEP report examines how new investments in clean energy, sustainable transport and environmentally friendly agriculture can help countries achieve international goals to alleviate poverty. The report gives policymakers numerous examples of "green" strategies that are paying multiple dividends and generating new opportunities to ensure environmental sustainability.

Green Economy Report: A Preview

Green Economy Report: A Preview

The Preview provides a snapshot of the different sectors that will be covered in the Green Economy Report, when it is published in 2011. The report demonstrates that greening the economy across a range of sectors can drive economy recovery and growth, and lead to future prosperity and job creation, while at the same time addressing social inequalities and environmental challenges.

Global Green New Deal Update

The following report (September 2009) summarizes in the introduction the key points of the March 2009 UNEP GGND policy brief and encourages participating governments to renew their pledge to a Global Green New Deal. The remaining part of the report highlights the progress in both green elements of fiscal stimulus packages, including the pace of disbursement, and domestic policy reforms in seven G20 countries: China, France, Germany, United States, Mexico, Republic of Korea, and South Africa.

A Global Green New Deal, Policy brief March 2009

This report, (March 2009) prepared by UNEP proposes recommendations, objectives and suggestions for implementing a GGND as a response to the multiple crises the world is now facing. UNEP splits its proposals into three categories; targeted stimulus spending in 2009-2010, changes in domestic policies, and changes in international policy architecture. UNEP outlines a GGND with three objectives: revive the economy and create jobs, promote sustainable growth and reduce carbon dependency and environmental destruction.

Download in: [English] [Chinese] [French] [Spanish] [Russian] [Arabic]

Green Jobs: Towards Decent Work in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World

The following report, produced by Worldwatch Institute (September 2008), has compiled evidence of green jobs available currently and how a ‘green’ economy could create and transform jobs in the future. Split into three broad sections, the report covers a wide scope of issue such as what is counted as a ‘green’ job, the availability of green jobs now, concerns over quantity and quality, policies that should be established to regulate green jobs, economic stimulus through green jobs and measures to ensure a ‘Just Transition’. The report concludes with a list of the present flourishing green job sectors, though cautions that while the potential is there for further green job growth, the challenges are still formidable.

Rethinking the Economic Recovery: A Global Green New Deal

This report, (April 2009) was commissioned by UNEP from Edward Barbier of the University of Wyoming to act as the back bone to the upcoming ‘Green Economy Report.’ This paper is an exploration of the potential benefits of a Global Green New Deal (GGND) as a way of combating the recession and also securing long term economic recovery. The report argues that the preservation and protection of our environment is crucial to long term economic stability and the fight to alleviate poverty. Any policies aimed at economic recovery must also take into account the environmental challenges we are faced with, such as climate change, pollution and habitat loss. Split into four parts, this publication is to act as a blue-print or first step in developing a GGND.  

   See more in UNEP Publications and Economics & Trade Publications