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Adopting green economy to drive growth

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Saturday, February 9, 2013



Mohammad Mizanur Rahman



In the global village, 'environment' is the basic pillar for economic development and social well-being today. Unbridled consumption and extraction to force growth damaging the natural capital upon which all life on the world depends is no more desirable. However, the global dichotomy between economic development and environment protection is still lodged in the outlook of individuals, policy makers, and governments. Besides sustainable development, the paradigm for understanding the relationship between economic development and environmental protection has largely failed to reform economic decision making in the way originally intended.


We stand at a critical time in Earth's history. The identification of 'green economy' as a significant opportunity to define a new global economic paradigm has taken place. The United Nations conference on sustainable development known as Rio+20 hosted in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil had agenda on green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication as well as international framework for sustainable development.


The United Nations Environment Programme, launched green economy initiative in late 2008. The green economy initiative is one of the nine United Nations based Joint Crisis Initiatives launched by its Chief Executive Board in early 2009.


Its green economy report-2011, firstly, makes an economic case for shifting both public and private investment to transform key sectors that are critical to greening the global economy. It illustrates through examples how added employment through green jobs offsets job losses in a transition to green economy.


Secondly, it shows how a green economy can reduce persistent poverty across a range of important sectors -- agriculture, forestry, freshwater, fisheries and energy. Sustainable forestry and ecologically friendly farming methods help conserve soil fertility and water resources. This is especially critical for subsistence farming, upon which almost 1.3 billion people depend for their livelihoods (UNEP et al. 2008). Thirdly, it provides guidance on policies to achieve this shift by reducing or eliminating environmentally harmful or perverse subsidies.


A green economy can be described as one that is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. It can take advantage of new growth trajectories designed to be more socially inclusive, as well as responsive to poverty reduction and economic diversification objectives. As defined by the United Nations Environment Programme: 'Green economy is one that results in improved human well-being and social equity…' while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. In a green economy, growth in income and employment is driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy and resource efficiency, and prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.


There are fifteen fundamental principles of green economy which have been compiled by Stakeholder Forum in collaboration with Bioregional and the Earth Charter Initiative, such as, Equitable Distribution of Wealth; Economic Equity and Fairness; Intergenerational Equity; Precautionary Approach; Right to Development; Internationalization of Externalities; International Cooperation; International Liability; Information, Participation and Accountability; Sustainable Consumption and Production; Strategic, Co-ordinated and Integrated Planning to Deliver Sustainable Development; Just Transition; Redefining Well-being; Gender Equality; Safeguarding Biodiversity and Preventing Pollution of Any Part of the Environment.


Green economy in Bangladesh would be the most potential tool for economic development and employment generation for eliminating persistent poverty through environmentally benign activities. Green economy would involve undertaking actions towards low carbon as well as socially and economically equitable inclusive sustainable economic development. In agriculture, forestry, transportation and energy sector agriculture and natural resources management, there is scope for generating green employment through green energy initiatives. Small workshops can proliferate in rural areas for repair and maintenance of solar lights and electrical products using solar energy. Rural transportation can benefit from pollution-free solar rickshaws which have the potential to generate green employment for many people. Solar water pumps can aid irrigation and generate employment.


Generation of power from rice husks can also contribute to employment generation. Setting up of biogas plants would also help create various types of employment. In addition, green employment can also be generated in the service sectors like water supply, sanitation, health, family welfare, low emission transportation, etc. However, the overall policy planning relating to greening the economy has to be conducted in regard to prevailing domestic and external realities faced by the country and its goals of accelerated green economic growth.



The writer is a botanist and researcher.




Source: thedailystar






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