The new partnership launched today by four United Nations (UN) agencies aims to support 30 countries including Nepal 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 new Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) is a response to the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), 'The Future We Want', which recognises green economy as a vehicle for sustainable development and poverty eradication.
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 four UN agencies — United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Labour Organisation (ILO), United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), and United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) — will provide a comprehensive suite of green economy services that will enable countries to transform their national economic structures to meet the growing demands and challenges of the 21st century.
"It is yet another example of how UNEP, with partners, is implementing the outcomes of Rio+20," said UN under secretary-general and UNEP executive director Achim Steiner. "The Partnership for Action on Green Economy will work with countries to catalyse 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," he said, adding that developing countries in particular — with the support of PAGE — can put in place 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 infrastructure.
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.
Germany, Kenya and South 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.
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.'
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.
"ILO estimated 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. "PAGE 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 that the transition creates more and better jobs and benefits all of society."
"Promoting green and clean new industries, and helping existing industries become more resource-efficient, will be a key focus of the partnership," said director general of UNIDO Kandeh K Yumkella. "While business and industry should be aligned with national green economy efforts, governments need to set the parameters in order for business to thrive."
"Advancing green economies in the context of poverty eradication creates unprecedented needs and opportunities for learning and skills development," said director ad interim of UNITAR Sally Fegan-Wyles. "PAGE addresses the challenge, by offering a suite of learning programmes and by strengthening capacities of national research and training institutions to ensure sustainability."
The four agencies have previously undertaken joint green initiatives. However, this is the first time that all four have come together to coordinate their support, expertise and resources at the national level. During the first two years of the partnership, PAGE will focus on seven pilot countries, yet to be named, and scale up this support to a total of 30 countries by 2020.