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Asia Regional Dialogue Discusses Country Experiences in Green Economy Approaches

September 2012: An Asian regional dialogue organized by UN agencies identified challenges in greening the economy. Participants discussed: the need for a better understanding of the trade-offs affecting different groups; time and resources involved in collecting the necessary data; political perceptions that new metrics will detract from growth; and difficulties in defining indicators for concepts such as green jobs.

The event, titled “Implementing Inclusive, Green Economy Approaches: Asia Regional Dialogue on Country Experiences and Ways Forward for Economic Decision Makers,” took place from 27-28 September 2012, in Bangkok, Thailand. Participants discussed the implications of decisions taken at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), country strategies for inclusive green economy approaches, indicators and measurement frameworks, fiscal and budget policies, social dimensions, employment, and other issues. The UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) jointly organized the dialogue.

The event comprised moderated panel discussions involving around 80 participants from government and UN agencies and civil society. Participants highlighted that there can be different green economy approaches depending on national context, and that some countries are already pursuing these with or without the “green economy” label. They noted that more work is needed to consider the trade-offs affecting different groups, and to focus explicitly on equity and social aspects of the green economy.

The discussions spotlighted examples of country approaches, including: green or low-carbon growth as a central pillar of Viet Nam's Sustainable Development Strategy for 2011 to 2020; and Indonesia's action plans to encourage low-carbon development, less hazardous waste, sustainable use of biodiversity and consideration of natural carrying capacity. Discussions also highlighted the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) as an international standard for environmental accounting.

Participants cited examples of current regional coordination on green economy, including the Green Mekong, the Green Development Initiative, the Green Bridge Partnership, and the Environmentally Sustainable Cities Initiative of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Results of the workshop will be used to inform the work of the UN Agencies' Green Economy Joint Programme, which may include more in-depth regional workshops, advisory services and country programming. [UNEP-DESA-UNDP Green Economy Joint Programme Webpage] [IISD RS sources]