First UN Inter-Agency Report on Green Economy Launched

14 December 2011: The UN Environment Management Group (EMG) has launched a report on green economy, titled "Working towards a balanced and inclusive green economy: A UN system-wide perspective.”

The report was launched on 14 December 2011, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, at a side event hosted by Costa Rica and Mexico on UN system-wide contributions to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) and enhancement of inter-agency coordination for sustainable development implementation, ahead of the Second Intersessional Meeting for the UNCSD.

The report was prepared by 40 UN entities, and is the first inter-agency report on the green economy. It offers guidance to UN agencies and member States on coherently supporting the transition at international and country levels. According to the report, instruments that governments could use to affect investors and consumers include: mobilizing financial resources; full cost pricing; regulatory instruments; sustainable trade and green markets; innovation and technology; and indicators for measuring progress towards transition. The report also recommends that governments align their laws, regulations, standards, taxes, labelling, and reporting requirements to reinforce incentives for the private sector to direct their finance and investments towards a green economy. The report suggests that public spending targeted towards green infrastructure and research and development can spur green technologies and innovation, as well as better health care and education. Moreover, the absence of appropriate regulation and pricing is causing a failure to create high potential markets in carbon trading, ecosystem services and environmental goods and services.

Presenting the report, Fulai Sheng, EMG Issue Management Group on Green Economy, UNEP, described green economy as a vehicle carrying us to the destination of sustainable development and poverty eradication. The vehicle is carried, in turn, by four wheels: clean technology across a range of sectors, natural capital, human capital and social capital. However, the exact design and priority of each wheel is left to the drivers, which are States. Priority seats in the vehicle are given to the poor. Fulai also described the report's recommendations on financing (the power for the vehicle), pricing, a “traffic light system” of rules and regulations, the benefits of innovation and technology, such as clean energy, and indicators to measure progress toward the destination. [Publication: Working Towards a Balanced and Inclusive Green Economy: A UN System-Wide Perspective] [UNEP Press Release] [IISD RS Sources]