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Dropping The “Grow First, Clean Up Later” Saying

Dropping The “Grow First, Clean Up Later” Development Saying For Green Growth

[Suva, Fiji – 29 January, 2010] – In light of the current economic crisis, aligning development approaches to environmental sustainability is the best solution to rebuild more resilient, socially inclusive economies.

“Green Growth is a policy focus for the Asia and Pacific region that emphasizes environmentally sustainable economic progress to foster low-carbon, socially inclusive development” explains Mr. Iosefa Maiava, Head of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) Pacific Operations Centre, in Suva, Fiji.

In the Asia and Pacific region, the concept of Environmentally Sustainable Economic Growth or Green Growth was developed at the 5th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development (MCED 2005) held in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

While promoting Green Growth amongst 62 countries of the East Asia and Pacific region, UNESCAP’s initiative to “green the UN” also supports the reconciliation between the achievement of two significant Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), namely poverty alleviation (MDG 1) and environmental sustainability (MDG7).

The Asia and Pacific region represents 40 per cent of the earth’s land area and is inhabited by 61 per cent of the world’s population. The region is facing environmental degradation, climate change and decreasing natural resources as well as dealing with the recent fuel, food and financial crisis. It is imperative that the region adjusts its development strategies towards a more responsible and long-term perspective.

Mr. Maiava said that “given the region’s limited ecological carrying capacity and the enormous need for further economic growth to reduce poverty and meet the basic needs of its vast and expanding population, the region has to find ways and means to reduce the environmental impact of its economic growth.”

To accomplish the goals designed by the concept of Green Growth, UNESCAP is supporting governments to establish policy measures based on six “green development paths”, namely sustainable consumption and production, greening businesses and markets, sustainable infrastructure, green tax and budget reform, eco-efficiency indicators and investment in natural capital.

UNESCAP is also helping Pacific countries develop Green Growth’s conceptual and analytical framework and provides capacity building.

“The past axiom of “grow first, clean up later”, can not apply in a region that has such a limited natural resource base and a rapidly growing population directly dependent on natural resources.” says Mr. Maiava, adding that “Green Growth is the foremost strategy to ensure environmental and economic sustainability of the countries in the Asia and Pacific region.”


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