News

Commonwealth Consultative Group on Environment Discusses Green Growth

4 March 2011: The 17th session of the Commonwealth Consultative Group on Environment (CCGE) was held on 23 February 2011, at UN Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, on the sidelines of the 26th Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, to discuss future Commonwealth work on environmentally sustainable development and climate finance.

On the green economy, the meeting served to highlight critical areas for further work, such as payments for ecosystem services. According to the Chair's summary statement, delegates shared different approaches in the transition to a green economy, from the development of national strategies to step-by-step changes in different sectors to build resilience, reduce waste and enhance natural capital. This discussion highlighted the need to build a deeper mutual understanding and a working definition of what a green economy means at the national level to support a coherent approach across government departments and with communities. Ministers proposed that the Commonwealth build support for international efforts on Rio 2012, the institutional framework for sustainable development and climate finance, focusing on the needs of small States and other particularly vulnerable countries and facilitating an understanding of innovative green financing mechanisms. Delegates also discussed the possibility for the Commonwealth to develop a framework to support the transformation to a green economy and poverty reduction in member States; and a proposal to establish a high-level and experts process within the Commonwealth to feed into Rio 2012 on the green economy and sustainable development governance approaches.

The CCGE also considered the outcomes of the Commonwealth High-Level Meeting on Climate Finance, which took place at Wiston House, UK, in January 2011, endorsing its outcomes and supporting implementation of its recommendations related to the transfer of knowledge, experience and targeted, applied expertise; development of mutual support in the strengthening of national capacities and institutions; Commonwealth work with regional organizations and development banks to help build support mechanisms at the regional level, including in establishing a stream of projects ready for funding; and the sharing of ideas on effective design of mechanisms to suit highly capacity-constrained countries.

The CCGE, convening annually in conjunction with the UNEP Governing Council or the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), provides an opportunity for ministers to meet outside of the formal negotiations and beyond their usual economic or regional groupings, to allow for wider and informal discussions. The CCGE will meet again in the sidelines of the next UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum in 2012. [Commonwealth Press Release][Chair's Summary Statement]