VI on Green Growth

 

Introduction to Green Growth

Green growth is a subset of sustainable development and is a globally relevant approach to economic growth. While Agenda 21 (Earth Summit- UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992) emphasizes the need for balancing economic, environmental and social development as a way forward to sustainable development, Green Growth emphasizes more of the need for greening the economy.

The continuation of “business-as-usual” economic growth and development will have serious impacts on natural resources and the ecosystem services on which human well-being depends. The main indicators of economic performance, such as growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) need to be adjusted to account for pollution, resource depletion, declining ecosystem services, and the distributional consequences of natural capital loss, because today’s economies are biased towards depleting natural capital to secure economic growth and thus, sustainable development is unachievable. A green economy is considered as low-carbon, resource efficient, and socially inclusive in which growth in income and employment are 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.

In line with global sustainable development agenda, Sri Lanka has put in place the short-, medium- and long-term development plans trying to integrate the environment component in their developmental plan considering environmental assets as overall development priorities. Though strategies and action plans are well documented, success of accomplishing the same are purely dependent on cross sectoral collaborations and proper coordination and thus, it is imperative to mainstream those into national planning process with proper sectoral integration to make a national level impact.

Build and maintain robust green growth monitoring and evaluation systems enhance learning, decision-making and management, strengthen government accountability, improve public trust and enable stakeholder participation. Such systems should be built and maintained to assess, track, and communicate green growth progress and results. It would be possible to achieve success with green growth monitoring and evaluation where they: (1) incorporate monitoring and evaluation indicators which cover economic, environmental and social policy objectives relevant for green growth; (2) Establish institutional arrangements for green growth monitoring and evaluation that are fully accountable and transparent, clear on roles across government agencies and partners and link closely with existing monitoring and evaluation systems; (3) Share monitoring and evaluation information in a timely and audience-appropriate manner using communication methods and channels to target and engage green growth relevant stakeholders with often divergent interests.

To instill a transition towards green economy a paradigm shift is necessary to follow with a common vision and understanding with an engagement with stakeholders across line ministries and nodal agencies at all levels, including state and private sector partners in realizing the promise of green growth to leverage net growth by reducing the hidden ecological and economic costs (GDP losses) that erode the human, social and natural capital. Greening an economy involves integrated development in various sectors such as industry, agriculture, trading, transport, energy, infrastructure, and services such as health, education and telecommunications etc. Planning and coordination mechanism need to be established with the capacity to evaluate and decide on different growth options to suit the country requirement, while ensuring the growth is sustainable and resource efficient. This process requires improved in -country capacity to compute and adopt environmental and ecosystem services into development planning and budgeting processes.

In this regards, the virtual institute on green growth intends to facilitate networking and coordination among institutions and all relevant stakeholders/ individuals engaged in green growth related activities on a common platform to generate a dialogue and discuss specific science, technology and innovation interventions and build projects of national relevance to make a robust coordination and monitoring framework.

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