Integrating green growth strategies into their economic policies will be
critical to developing countries going forward as they work to secure a more
prosperous and comfortable quality of life for their citizens, a new OECD report
The report, called “Putting Green Growth at the Heart of
Development,” was released on Wednesday by the OECD in honor of the United
Nations World Environment Day occurring that day. Although only 7 billion people
inhabit the world today, by 2050, this number will jump to about 9 billion,
instigating soaring demands for resources like food, water and energy, OECD
Secretary-General Angel Gurria wrote in the report's introduction. Only economic
growth policies that take such resources under consideration can ensure that the
world's citizens will be able to continue to thrive within a healthy
environment, the report says.
Ultimately, the authors propose a
"twin-track approach to guide national and international action to help achieve
green growth in developing countries," the report authors explain. While
embracing green strategies is also crucial to the governance of developed
nations, far fewer developing nations have yet to embark on this path, which
galvanize prosperity among their people, according to the report.
pursuit of green growth by developing countries is vital for their future and
can lead to large economic and social benefits over time, including for the
poorest citizens," Gurria wrote.
Green taxes, which the report says are a
concept "largely untapped in developing countries," can be a great source of
economic growth, as can be reforms of fossil fuel subsidies, Gurria explained.
Funds created and freed up by these steps cannot only encourage the development
of clean energy sources but can also finance other public priorities like
education and health care, the report says. As the global population continues
to expand rapidly, however, Gurria warned that countries must "waste not time"
in adopting green growth economic policies.
Without embracing green
growth strategies, short-term national prosperity risks being "undermined by
insecurity and vulnerability," the authors explain.
The benefits of
employing green growth are strategies are many and can lead to the development
of more secure livelihoods for all citizens, the report says. Green growth
polices take into account the interests of vulnerable groups by design and
thereby can have “profound impacts son poverty reduction and social equity,” the
authors write. Meanwhile, the new economic growth opportunities that surface
through sustainable resource management can provide new job opportunities for
Green growth policies likewise can lead to a more resilient
infrastructure for the country at large, one that is not locked into the
vulnerable and insecure track of using emission-intensive resources, the report
explains. Meanwhile, the population of countries adopting such strategies will
have greater access to clean water and sanitation services, diverse and more
secure energy supplies and less pollution in the air they
Government adoption of green growth strategies will by no means
be simple, as officials will need to mobilize a wide array of ministries to
adopt green objectives as mainstream elements of their offices, as well as
integrate such policies into national budgets, the report says. The authors
suggest embarking upon a three-step path to accomplish these goals. First, the
government must establish leaders to oversee green growth strategy
implementation into the existing planning process and budgetary systems. Second,
the leaders must design, reform, and implement policies that take natural
resources into account and incentivize green behavior. Third, they must
strengthen the government’s commitment to monitoring and enforcing the policies
effectively, the authors write.
For optimal implementation of green
growth policies, the authors suggest that developing countries depend on the
international community for assistance particularly in the often expensive
upfront costs of “going green,” the report says. Going forward, development
assistance should include targeted green finance and investment, and there
should be more cooperation on promoting green technology innovation across
borders, the authors argue.
Once countries adopt green growth strategies
it will be crucial for them to be able to monitor their progress toward meeting
their objectives, the authors stress. The OECD recommends measuring statistics
according to four strategic indicators – resource use and energy generation, the
status of the country’s natural resource reserves, environmental quality of life
and economic opportunities such as environmental goods production or resultant
“With the world gearing up to pursue sustainable
development goals in the context of the post-2015 development agenda, now is the
time to seize the opportunity offered by green growth,” the authors write at the
beginning of their final chapter.
As for Israel, green growth is
currently a work in progress. In October 2011, the cabinet ordered the
preparation a national plan toward promoting green growth for the years 2012 to
2020, pursuant to Israel’s responsibilities as an OECD member state. The
Environmental Protection Ministry and the then Industry, Trade and Labor
Ministry were jointly responsible for drafting such a plan within six months.
September 2012, the cabinet approved their plan, which aims to increase the
country’s gross domestic product by NIS 76 billion within five years. The
program, which requires a NIS 850 million investment over the course of five
years, will likely generate thousands of new jobs for Israelis, the two
ministries said at the time.
Crucial to the program is the elimination of
“greenwashing” – false claims of green behaviors – as well as curbing the
complicated bureaucracy involved with receiving environmental approvals in a
business license. In addition, the program calls for expanded green ratings for
electrical appliances, training for green jobs and the promotion of green
industrial areas that both save money and pollution. Upon submitting the program
to the cabinet, environmental protection minister Gilad Erdan said that “green
growth engines are the basis for leapfrogging to the next economic rung.”