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, that if scaled up and integrated into a comprehensive strategy, could offer an alternative development path, one that is pro-growth, pro-jobs and pro-poor. A limited selection from a growing range of experiences in different sectors, are summarized below, highlighting their economic, social and environmental benefits. While some represent established broad-based policies and investment programmes, others are newly initiated pilot projects. In this sense the collection underlines that a green economy strategy has established and proven examples on which to build. At the same time, some recent developments also illustrate the growing interest in seizing opportunities to move to a green economy.

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South-South Cooperation Success Stories

The South-South Cooperation is an opportunity to share best practices, fund pilot projects, scale up successful projects and to develop and adapt appropriate technologies. More solutions are available across the global South which, if adequately harnessed, could make meaningful contributions across a range of urgent concerns, from hunger and health to education and sustainable energy.

Organic Agriculture in Cuba

Cuba’s transition to organic agriculture emerged as a necessary response to the food crisis that gripped the nation in the early 1990s. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and a longstanding trade embargo that severely constrained industrialised agricultural practices on the island, Cuban producers turned the declining availability of pesticides, fertilisers and petroleum into an opportunity to shift towards organic production with numerous environmental, social and economic gains.

Solar Energy in Barbados

Barbados’ overreliance on imported fossil fuels has become one of the island’s major environmental concerns. The Barbadian government’s National Strategic Plan of Barbados for 2006-25 is designed to rectify this dependency by increasing the country’s renewable energy supply, with a particular focus on raising the number of household solar water heaters by 50 per cent by 2025. Solar water heaters are now a widely used renewable energy technology in Barbados, with installations in nearly half of the island’s dwelling units.

Waste Management in Republic of Korea

Waste management and recycling in the Republic of Korea’s has not reduced waste generation, but has also encouraged reusing waste as an energy resource. Over the past years, targeted policies have significantly increased the recycling rate while creating thousands of jobs in an endeavour to build a Resource Recirculation Society.

Woodlot Management in Tanzania

In the Makete District of Tanzania, forest, woodland and grassland resources are essential to the local economies, and are crucial for the protection of vital watersheds for the conservation of the environment for agriculture and livestock production. Using smallholder woodlot management practices as a strategy for climate change adaptation has created a new stream of income for local communities and revenues for the city, while enhancing resilience to climate vulnerability.

Ecosystem Restoration in Rwanda

As the protection and management of the environment is one of the pillars of Rwanda’s Vision 2020, the “country of a thousand hills” has undertaken many initiatives to protect ecosystems for income generation and good governance. Several of these projects, including the initiative to preserve the Rwandan mountain gorilla and wetland restoration efforts in the Nyabarongo-Akagera network and Rugezi, are already beginning to reap environmental, economic, and employment benefits.

Renewable Energy in China

China is taking considerable steps to shift to a low-carbon growth strategy based on the development of renewable energy sources. The outline of 11th Five-year Plan (2006-2010) allocated a significant share of investments to green sectors, with an emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency. The Plan projects that the per-unit GDP energy consumption by 2010 should have decreased by 20 per cent compared to 2005. In addition, the Chinese government has committed itself to producing 16 per cent of its primary energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Feed-in tariffs in Kenya

Kenya’s energy profile is characterized by a predominance of traditional biomass energy to meet the energy needs of the rural households and a heavy dependence on imported petroleum for the modern economic sector needs. As a result, the country faces challenges related to unsustainable use of traditional forms of biomass and exposure to high and unstable oil import prices. In March 2008, Kenya’s Ministry of Energy adopted a feed-in tariff.

Organic agriculture in Uganda

Uganda has taken important steps in transforming conventional agricultural production into an organic farming system, with significant benefits for its economy, society and the environment. Organic agriculture (OA) is defined by the Codex Alimentarius Commission as a holistic production management system, which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It prohibits the use of synthetic inputs, such as drugs, fertilizers and pesticides.

Sustainable urban planning in Brazil

Rapid growth of urban areas presents both environmental and socio-economic challenges to residents, businesses and municipalities. With inadequate planning and limited finances accommodating the increasing urban populations often results in expansion of informal housing in cities or suburban developments requiring high use of private transport.

Rural ecological infrastructure in India

India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (NREGA) is a guaranteed wage employment programme that enhances the livelihood security of marginalized households in rural areas. Implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development, NREGA directly touches the lives of the poor, promotes inclusive growth, and also contributes to the restoration and maintenance of ecological infrastructure.

Forest management in Nepal

Community forestry has contributed to restoring forest resources in Nepal. Forests account for almost 40 per cent of the land in the country. Although this area was decreasing at an annual rate of 1.9 per cent during the 1990s, this decline was reversed, leading to an annual increase of 1.35 per cent over the period 2000 to 2005.

Ecosystem Services in Ecuador

The city of Quito offers a leading example of the potential for developing markets that channel economic demand for water to upstream areas from which it is supplied. In Quito’s case, the availability of water for the city of about 1.5 million inhabitants and surrounding areas depends on the conservation of protected areas upstream, with 80 per cent of the water supply originating in two ecological reserves, the Cayambe-Coca (400,000 ha) and the Antisana (120,000 ha).

Solar energy in Tunisia

To reduce the country’s dependence on oil and gas, Tunisia’s government has undertaken steps to promote the development and use of renewable energy A law establishing an “energy conservation system” on energy management in 2005 was immediately followed with the creation of a funding mechanism – the National Fund for Energy Management – to support increased capacity in renewable energy technologies and also improved energy efficiency. The replenishment of this Fund is based on a duty levied on the first registration of private, petrol-powered and diesel powered cars.