Nairobi — A new partnership launched today by four UN agencies aims to support 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 new Partnership for Action on Green Economy, or PAGE, is a response to the outcomedocument of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), entitled The Future We Want, which recognizes the 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 - 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) - 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.
"This is yet 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," said Achim Steiner, UN Under Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director. "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.
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.
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 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. "PAGE aims to embed 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".
"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, Director General of UNIDO. "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 Sally Fegan-Wyles, Director ad Interim of UNITAR. "PAGE addresses this 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 partners 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.