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A green growth strategy – Serge Tomasi

Posted on Monday, 9 July 2012 06:34

Serge Tomasi, Deputy Director of the Development Co-operation Directorate spoke to The Africa Report on the sidelines of the recent Rio+20. He argues that green economy is directly linked with the concept of development in Africa.

The Africa Report: What is the OECD’s perspective on ‘green economy’? How does it relate to realities from poverty to, environmental degradation etc?

Serge Tomasi: OECD has been convinced for a long time that “green” and “growth” could go hand in hand. It is particularly relevant for developing countries that are the most vulnerable to adverse effects of climate change and very dependent on natural assets: in average, natural assets account for 26 percent of GNP in developing countries while it account for less than 2 percent in developed economies. Moreover energy efficiency and improvement in the management of natural resources are key elements to extend access to energy, water and land in developing countries. We think also that green growth will foster productivity and will offer new opportunities for job creation and investment. China is the first world investor of solar energy.

Yet, having said that, we are fully aware that developing countries have specific challenges to face with the transition towards green economy: the focus of national development strategies on poverty eradication, lack of human resources, access to green technology, lack of financial resources to finance short term investment cost. Therefore, we think it is important to help developing countries to design green policies tailored with their specific context. We decided to prepare a special report to address the topic of green growth and developing countries, with a large consultative process with policy makers and academics from the south. We organised a first consultative meeting in Seoul during the last green growth summit, and a second consultation in Rio on June 17 (as well as) a high level panel chaired by OECD SG and several ministers from developing countries including Rwanda and Ethiopia (on June 28, 2012).

This links into the OECD having just established a consultation for developing nations on this issue: how was it formed? What role do EU as a supranational entity, individual governments and businesses provide?

We think it is important to support developing countries with a practical policy framework that will be presented in the report. But we also think there is a role for donors to create an enabling international environment to support implementation of green policies in developing countries. This topic will be addressed in the report too.

To what extent should the carbon market, offsets, and other already integrated measures of ‘green strategy’ play?

Carbon market as other market instruments could help to fix the right price to the natural resources, and to integrate environmental degradation externalities into decision making processes. It could help pay the right price for carbon sequestration to developing countries.

Is there a difference in approach between ‘valuation’ and ‘financialisation’ of ecosystems?

We think that the main risk is the absence of a right price for ecosystem services. It is really important to valuate natural resources and ecosystem services to create the positive signals to the market and to pay a better price.

Green growth and green economy – do they go hand in glove, or are the two potentially separate systems?

Green economy and green growth are close. OECD prefers using the concept of green growth because we think that both developed and mainly developing countries need growth to eradicate poverty and unemployment. The challenge is to reshape economic policies to reconciliate economic growth, social inclusion and environment preservation. For OECD, green growth is a strategy to foster growth and development while preserving natural resources from which our well being relies.

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