unctad.org | UNEP sends message for UNCTAD XIII
UNEP sends message for UNCTAD XIII
04 April 2012
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Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Mr. Achim Steiner, says the green economy can help achieve the objective of sustainable development, delivering social, environmental and economic benefits.

Noting the array of challenges to sustainable development such as poverty and inequalities, Mr. Steiner also pointed to "mitigating, responding and adapting to the damaging effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels, desertification and biodiversity loss.” 


For UNEP, a green economy is one that is "low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially inclusive; that results in improved human wellbeing and social equity, but significantly reduced environmental risks and ecological scarcity."
According to Mr. Steiner, the green economy can provide great benefits to the living standards of people in developing countries. Investment in the green sector creates green jobs, which are not only environmentally sound, but also provide “decent” work as highlighted by the joint UNEP-ILO Green Jobs Report.
Higher wages may be generated as well as increased employment, as a result of a greener economy. “Organic agriculture, for instance, is typically more labour-intensive than conventional agriculture. As such, it can create up to 30 per cent more employment than conventional farming,” said Mr. Steiner. “This sector is predicted to increase global employment by as much as 4 per cent over the next decade,” he added.
According to a joint UNCTAD and UNEP report which surveyed small-scale farmers in Africa, yields had improved on average by 100 per cent after converting to organic or near organic methods. To add to this, sustainable farming can reduce environmental externalities such as water pollution and soil erosion, as well as increasing North-South trade.
Mr. Steiner cited collaboration between UNCTAD and UNEP in areas such as the Capacity Building Task Force on Trade, Environment and Development in the East African Community which has worked on developing a regional organic products standard. 
“Such initiatives can build a stronger, collective negotiating position for developing countries to seek market access and mutual recognition or equivalence of standards in export markets, strengthen their organic agriculture industries, and reinforce the associated development benefits,” Mr. Steiner added in his message for UNCTAD XIII.



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