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Delhi Dialogue Advances Consideration of Green Economy, SDGs

4 October 2011: The Secretariat of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) and India's Ministry of Environment and Forests convened a ministerial dialogue on green economy and inclusive growth. Views were shared on financing of a green economy, a green economy roadmap and energy access, among others. The proposed set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and possible guiding principles for a definition of "green economy" were also discussed.

The dialogue took place from 3-4 October 2011, in New Delhi, India. India's Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Jayanthi Natarajan, Co-Chair of the dialogue, shared a summary at the close of the meeting.

On general principles, some voiced apprehension that the debate on the Green Economy may distract attention from sustainable development. Speakers underlined the need for sustainable development to result in job creation and address unemployment, and for institutional capacities to be strengthened at national and local levels.

On conserving natural resources, speakers stressed the importance of the early operationalization of the Nagoya Protocol to promote conservation of biological resources.

On financing, participants discussed developed country financing, access to clean technology at affordable costs, and the removal of barriers to technology transfer.

On a green economy roadmap, some felt that a practical action plan agreed to by all countries could be considered. There was also a call for a Green Economy Roadmap accompanied by tool box of flexible policies, instruments and best practices.

Other issues discussed at the meeting included food security, universal access to sustainable energy, and the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD).

In concluding remarks, Sha Zukang summarized participants' “wish list” for a successful UNCSD and outlined some of his additions to this list. Sha expressed the opinion that agreement had begun to emerge on the view that green economy is a means to the end of sustainable development and poverty eradication. He indicated that common ground was emerging around the idea that a green economy roadmap could be helpful, and that guiding principles of green economy must be defined.

On the SDGs, Sha said that most participants agreed that these warrant further consideration. He suggested that the priority areas could be agreed at Rio+20, and a process set in motion to spell out related goals and targets, and noted that this would need to be coordinated with discussion of the post-2015 development agenda.

On IFSD, Sha stated that the idea of a sustainable development council (SDC) was gaining interest based on the discussions in other preparatory fora. If given a strong mandate, he said, an SDC could raise the political profile of sustainable development and be effective in assessing progress with implementation, possibly through voluntary country reporting and review along the lines of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). [UNCSD Secretariat Webpage for Delhi Dialogue]