Green Economy: Background Paper for the Ministerial Consultations


Green Economy and Ecosystem Services
Natural capital and ecosystem services are widely considered as a free resources, and are not priced or valued in the global economy. This is despite the fact that evidence points squarely to the fact that economies for their functioning are reliant upon ecosystems and the services they provide: a recent UNEP study found that coastal ecosystems together with coral reefs supply an estimated 50 per cent of the world’s fisheries, providing nutrition to close to 3 billion people, in addition to 50 per cent of animal protein and minerals to 400 million people in developing nations. A green economy must entail the recognition of the value of ecosystems and incorporate this cost into transactions.

UNEP Green Economy Initiative

  • UNEP has significantly increased its work around the green economy, now positioning itself as a global leader in this growing movement. In March 2009 it released a report on the Global Green New Deal, calling for 1% of GDP from 2009-10 to be invested in the green economy – it produced an updated policy brief on this issue for the G20 Pittsburgh Summit in September 2009, calling for governments to clearly outline their national green investment packages.
  • The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) initiative has released a number of reports and briefs outlining the importance of investing in ecosystem preservation and restoration for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • UNEP is currently working on a ‘Green Economy Report’ with a range of partners ,identifying green investment opportunities across a range of sectors including transport, energy, waste management, water and tourism . A first draft will be circulated in May 2010.
  •  UNEP has been part of the development of a broad-based green economy coalition made up of civil society, business and intergovernmental actors:

Green Economy and ‘Rio+20’ World Conference on Sustainable Development 2012
UNEP has been working closely with the Environment Management Group to set up an issue management group on how the UN system can more effectively address transition to a green economy. This sub-group will contribute to the preparatory process for discussions on the Green Economy in the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit in 2012.

Country Responses to a Green Economy
In 2009, various countries announced specific steps in the transition to a green economy,
including green investments in their economic stimulus packages and regular budgetary spending, together with the development of national policies to enable the transition. More details of the precise investments are available in the background paper, and have also been outlined comprehensively in a paper by HSBC Global Research: Robins, N., and others, “A global green recovery? Yes, but in 2010” (HSBC Global Research, London, August 2009)

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