Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director
Some 30 countries chiefly in East and Central Africa have earned support from four United Nations agencies for pilot green economy activities.
A recent statement by the International Labour Organization (1LO) East Africa Office in Dar es Salaam names the four UN Agerncies teaming up to that end as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) .
"The new Partnership for Action on Green Economy, or PAGE, is a response to the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), titled ‘The Future We Want,’ which recognizes the green economy as a vehicle for sustainable development and poverty eradication," the ILO stated.
The partnership to that end is dated to have been hatched early this week (19/02/2013) by the four UN agencies aimed to support "...the 30 countries over the next seven years in building national green economy strategies that will generate new jobs and skills, promote clean technologies, and reduce environmental risks and poverty."
The background to that initiative is that "Governments at Rio+20 called on UN agencies to support countries interested in accelerating their transition to an inclusive green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication."
The ILO estimates that at least half of the global workforce could be affected in some way by the transition to a green economy," citing this as another example of how UNEP with partners is implementing the outcomes of Rio+20.
The Partnership for Action on Green Economy will work with countries to catalyze change at the national level, assisting them with targeted economic and policy instruments and training that will accelerate their green economy transition across sectors ranging from clean energy to sustainable agriculture.
Achim Steiner, the UN Under Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director is cited to affirm that with the support of PAGE, developing countries in particular can put in place the policies needed to reap the economic and environmental benefits of an inclusive, resource-efficient, low-carbon pathway, and avoid the risks and shocks of carbon-intensive infrastructures.
"From Barbados to Mexico and Nepal to South Africa, many countries are already advancing green initiatives that will contribute to a more equitable and sustainable future,” he said.
Germany, Kenya and the Republic of Korea, among other states, have set out radical changes in their energy policies to harness the power of renewables, and reinvest in their natural capital. Lebanon and Madagascar are working to rebuild their agro-industries, while other countries – like Peru and Senegal – are focused on developing more capacity and green jobs, the statement indicated.
As ‘The Future We Want’ recommends, PAGE will encourage the implementation of green economy policies by countries that seek to apply them for the transition towards sustainable development as a common undertaking, the director noted.
More specifically, PAGE will build enabling conditions in participating countries by shifting investment and policies towards the creation of a new generation of assets, such as clean technologies, resource efficient infrastructure, well-functioning ecosystems, green skilled labour and good governance.
PAGE aims to ensure this transition creates more and better jobs and ILO estimates that at least half of the global workforce – or 1.5 billion people – could be affected in some way by the transition to a green economy, said ILO director general Guy Ryder.
It aims at embedding the right policies and opportunities at the national level as countries move forward with their inclusive green economy plans, and thus ensure this transition creates more and better jobs and benefits all of society, the agency underlined.
“Promoting green and clean new industries, and helping existing industries become more resource-efficient, will be a key focus of the partnership,” said Kandeh K. Yumkella, the UNIDO director general.
“While business and industry should be aligned with national green economy efforts, governments need to set the parameters in order for business to thrive,” he added.