UNEP Green Economy Report Highlights Benefits of a Sustainable Growth Trajectory

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) released its final report on green economy. Titled “Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication,” [ pdf file3.08MB] the full report expands on UNEP’s previous green economy publications – a synthesis for policy makers and summary of conclusions, inter alia – challenging the assumption of a trade-off between the economy and the environment. It argues that with appropriate policies, governments can grow their economies consistently with environmental goals.

The report, a result of a three-year global research effort that underwent a three-month public review, highlights that an investment of 2% of global GDP across ten key sectors can turn the current polluting and inefficient economy into a green one. It notes that such an investment would not only shift the global economy onto a more sustainable growth trajectory, but it would also maintain or increase growth. It also recognizes that job losses may be inevitable, but that new ones in the renewables and sustainable agriculture sectors will offset these losses. The report also suggests that, by moving to more sustainable agriculture practices, farmers could increase their yields and profits.

The report further underscores the economic value of ecosystem services, underlining the role of natural assets in ensuring the stability of the water cycle and its benefits to agriculture and households, the carbon cycle and its role in climate mitigation, soil fertility and its value to crop production, fisheries for food security, etc, which are all key elements of a green economy.

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