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Developing country stakeholders have their say: A synthesis

Developing country stakeholders have their say: A synthesis

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Published by: Green Economy Coalition on Nov 10, 2011
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november 2011
A series o national discussions are now underway toexplore whether the concept is indeed o relevance todeveloping countries, and what a green economy mightmean in dierent places and contexts. These stakeholderdialogues have been initiated under the auspices o theGreen Economy Coalition as part o its preparations or theRio Conerence and other global events, with each processbeing coordinated and led by locally based organisations.The dialogues oer evidence o the kinds o economic andsocial challenges that developing countries are conronting,and o the opportunities to address them in sustainableways. They also oer learning opportunities or othercountries, both North and South.Dialogues have started in Brazil, the Caribbean (regionaldialogue), India and Mali. Each dialogue takes a dierent orm, but all converge on ‘moments’ o discussion amongstakeholders in a workshop or conerence setting. Theresults o these initial discussions in each o the ourGreen Economy Coalition national dialogues have beendocumented
and orm the basis or this paper. While the
Green Economy is being touted by governments, corporations and development agencies asthe way orward or a world threatened by climate change, environmental degradation andeconomic instability. It has gained such prominence in international debates that it is one othe two major themes selected or the June 2012 UN Conerence on Sustainable Developmentin Rio (Rio +20). Yet the selection has generated controversy, with many developing countries calling it a potential ‘distraction rom already agreed global commitments onsustainable development’.
Sensitivities over this are refected in the enabling agreementor the Conerence, which reers to: ‘Green Economy in the context o poverty eradication andsustainable development’.
Green economy: developingcountry stakeholders havetheir say
number o dialogues is small, the range o contexts thatthey represent is vast, including large emerging economies,least developed countries, and small island developingstates. To widen the body o evidence urther, linkagesare being made with similar national consultations inBotswana, Kazakhstan and elsewhere.Participants have welcomed the opportunity to explore newdevelopment pathways through a ‘green economy’ lens andto begin to develop national visions o a new, sustainable andresilient economic uture. In all the dialogues, there has beenresistance to the notion o a single ‘green economy’ denition or ramework, along with a strong sense o the specicity o eachcountry’s development objectives, needs and opportunities.Although each o the dialogues is developing ideas andproposals that are specic to individual contexts, someconverging themes have also emerged, which may dier romthose coming out o mainstream debate on green economy.While only a single moment o discussion in each nationalprocess is refected here, the dialogues are continuing withthe aim o engaging an ever-widening range o stakeholders
These are available on the GreenEconomy Coalition website:www.greeneconomycoalition.org/what/ national-dialogues. 
in a consciously inclusive process that accepts theinevitability and value o diverging opinions, and that aimsto infuence policy and practice, locally, nationally, regionallyand globally.
estalishig a fudatif acti
The dialogues have all recognised that beore it is possibleto consider the details o a shit towards a green economy– the sectors to target, the new institutions to establish, thetechnologies to employ – there is a need or each country todene its own version o what the shit itsel should entailand what principles should guide that economic transition.It is striking that despite the huge diversity o contextsrepresented by the dialogue countries, all o the dialoguesconcluded that any new approach to economic developmentwould only be meaningul and legitimate i it was built ona set o broad principles: sustainable development, equity,resilience, accountability and citizen empowerment.Beyond dening these principles and developing broadvisions, the dialogues identied concrete and innovativeactions that can be taken now. The ‘next steps’, which canbe initiated with local resources but could also benet romexternal support, include:
Green economy diagnoses.
To build on the dialoguesand drive innovation, countries are establishing workinggroups and national coalitions to delve deeper into therequirements or economic transormation in key sectorsthrough identication o problems, opportunities, buildingblocks, policy measures and wider economic policyimplications. Key participants in and audiences or thesediagnoses are ministries o nance and business, whoneed to understand the costs o continued business asusual, and how moving to triple bottom line accounting canimprove productivity and net revenues over the long term.
Action learning.
By bringing the right mix o peopletogether, stakeholder platorms or green economy diagnosiscan become mechanisms or a larger iterative process
november 2011
A dis st f cutis
The countries that have so ar engaged in national dialogues could not be more diverse:
A very big country with a wealth o natural resources, tremendous renewable energy capacity and potential, alarge urban population, and wide income and consumption disparities. Its natural assets oer potential or nancingenvironmental protection and rural development through payments or environmental services.
The Caribbean:
A region comprised o small island countries with long histories o environmental degradation. Theregion is highly vulnerable to natural disasters, climate change and other external stressors and shocks, and hasbeen experiencing declining economic productivity and increasing poverty and social inequality. Institutions such asthe Association o Caribbean States and the Caribbean Community oer the potential or countries to pursue newdevelopment pathways through regional collaboration.
One o the most rapidly industrialising and urbanising countries in the world, but agriculture still employs thevast majority o the country’s workorce. Despite progress, poverty reduction remains the greatest national developmentchallenge. India has considerable capacity or technological innovation and high potential or scaling up greentechnologies and approaches and or attracting social investment.
A large, landlocked country with high rates o poverty and high dependency on natural resources or livelihoods.Its ecosystems are ragile due to a rainall variability that is increasing with climate change. Climate change adaptation nance and actions oer a development opportunity or economic transormation.
o action learning. Learning rom existing best practicescan encourage innovation and scaling up. For example,some o the learning material identied in the Caribbeanincludes integrated national planning processes that take a’green economy’ perspective, such Guyana’s Low CarbonDevelopment Strategy and Jamaica’s Vision 2030 NationalDevelopment Plan; and trade agreements that buildresilience together with strong environmental and labourprotections, like one now being negotiated between theCaribbean Community and Canada.
Capital or green’ SMEs.
Financing mechanisms can becreated to support micro, small and medium enterprisesthat cannot achieve the scale required by existing acilitiesset up to encourage low carbon enterprises, such asthe Clean Development Mechanism. The Mali dialoguesuggested the creation o a ‘Green Investment Bank’ or thispurpose. The India dialogue noted the potential o socialinvestment unding to support small-scale low carbonenterprises.
Scaling out through regional cooperation.
Regionalcooperation oers opportunities or building on a widerrange o assets, reducing dependency on external marketsand creating economies o scale, especially or investmentin capital intensive sectors such as renewable energy. TheCaribbean dialogue took a regional approach rom the startand is now seeking to engage a wider range o countriesin the development o a pan-Caribbean vision and plano action. Even larger countries can benet rom taking aregional perspective on the sustainable economic use oshared resources such as river basins.
Targeting key sectors.
Investment in strategic actions totransorm specic sectors can make a major contributiontowards job creation, poverty reduction and environmentalprotection. The Brazil dialogue highlighted the potential onature tourism to generate payments or environmentalservices. The India dialogue identied actions to makethe agriculture sector more sustainable, such as cropdiversication to deal with climate variability and therevival o traditional crop varieties through seed banks, or ood security. The Caribbean dialogue noted the potentialto rapidly transorm the housing sector through regulationand incentives. The Mali dialogue emphasised the role ostakeholder participation in decisions about the use andallocation o the country’s precious water resources.
Broadening and deepening the dialogue.
The visions,ideas and recommendations that have already emerged rom these dialogues only refect a small sample o whatbroader discussions, with a wider range o stakeholders,could oer. The dialogues have yet to ully engage with theprivate sector, ministries o nance and planning, youngpeople and other major stakeholder groups, and doing sowill be critical to the achievement o a shared vision andan implementable agenda. A priority or all countries isthereore to expand the dialogue over the coming months,and a range o innovative approaches, rom regionalseminars to examine local issues in depth to Facebookdiscussion boards, are currently being employed.
Picipls ad piitis
Guided by principles o sustainable development, equity,resilience, accountability and citizen empowerment, thedialogues have begun to shape a set o priority areaso action in the transormation to a green economy indeveloping countries. This emerging set o principles andpriorities may oer a starting point or deeper south-southdialogue on green economy.
1. Sustainable development
 This remains the most relevant and desirable developmentparadigm and oers answers to the converging economic,environmental and climate crises the world is now acing.Developing countries have disproportionately suered theimpacts rom the economic mismanagement that hasbred these crises, and where they have beneted rom thegrowth that briefy accompanied it has only been unevenlyand tenuously.‘Green economy’ can add value to sustainabledevelopment practice but cannot replace it as adevelopment paradigm. By approaching developmentlargely through an environmental lens, the sustainabledevelopment project has missed opportunities to

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