Group of Friends of Green Economy Convenes Final Workshop

19 April 2011: The Group of Friends of the UN General Assembly's (UNGA) Thematic Debate on the Green Economy convened the third and final workshop in its series, which had “Green Economy Pathways” as its focus.

The workshop was chaired by Ambassador Simona Mirela Miculescu (Romania) and Ambassador Claude Heller (Mexico). In addition to Mexico and Romania, the Group of Friends includes Egypt, Gabon, Grenada, Hungary, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Sweden and Switzerland. The series has been convened by the Group of Friends and the World Resources Institute (WRI).

The third workshop included presentations by: John Talberth, WRI, who provided an overview of green economy pathways and how “market and institutional corrections” can speed countries' transition; Ailun Yang, WRI, who noted that developing countries are leading the transition to a green economy while confronting current crises; Godber Tumushabe, Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (Uganda), who spoke of the need for a new governance framework for green economy in a presentation titled “Strategies to promote access to information: Participation and access to justice in environmental decision-making;” and Heinz Leuenberger, UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), who presented strategies to achieve a low-carbon, eco-efficient economy.

The second portion of the workshop was an open discussion. Among other issues, participants noted the limits of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as an indicator, the inevitable costs of shifting investments from a “brown economy” to a green one, elements related to North-South interaction, and the resources available to countries as they take possible pathways to a green economy, including low-carbon development, equitable access to and governance of natural resources, and eco-efficiency.

This workshop series will be followed by a retreat for Permanent Representatives on the topic "The Green Economy: Building a common understanding and roadmap" on 18 May 2011. The UNGA's thematic debate on "Green Economy: A pathway to sustainable development" will convene on 2 June 2011. [IISD RS Sources] [Group of Friends Website]