WTO (Negotiations, Regular Work, Leadership)

Green Transition and Poverty Alleviation in LDCs: Taking Stock of LDC-IV

“Making the transition to a green economy fair and equitable” was one of the two major subjects of the UNCTAD Public Symposium in 2011, which was also the year of the IV UN Conference on LDCs. The Symposium provided a good opportunity to combine these two elements by analyzing the then adopted Plan of Action of LDC-IV in the context of transition to green economy and the specific LDC needs and interests. Accordingly, CUTS Geneva Resource Centre, FES Geneva Office (and UNCTAD-tbc) organized a breakout session entitled “Green Transition and Poverty Alleviation in LDCs: Taking Stock of LDC-IV” during the Public Symposium on 23 June 2011.

Climate Change Disproportionately Affects LDCs

This was one of the conclusions of a joint event organized by CUTS and FES in Geneva entitled “Green Transition and Poverty Alleviation in LDCs: Taking Stock of LDC IV”. The event was part of the 3rd annual Public Symposium of UNCTAD and was chaired by Ramamurti Badrinath, Director CUTS Geneva Resource Centre. In his welcoming remarks, Dr Matthes Buhbe, Director FES Geneva Office pointed out that the successful LDC transition to Green Economy will require new sources of funding; enabling environment for private sector; global markets for LDC Green exports; and new and effective means of Green technology transfer to LDCs.

Charles Gore, Special Coordinator for LDCs at UNCTAD talked about the extreme poverty in LDCs. The proportion of global poor living in LDCs doubled to 36% in 2007 from 18% in 1999. According to him, this extreme poverty in LDCs can be countered by creating decent jobs through building Green productive capacities of LDCs. Istanbul Programme of Action adopted at the UN LDC IV held in Istanbul in May 2011 may not be perfect but does provide some opportunities to do that.

The event also heard a presentation by Dr Gerhard Schories of ttz – a German consulting and engineering company – regarding two innovative projects in Bangladesh. These projects focus on production of renewable energy and organic shrimp farming respectively. Both the projects involve local capacity building and are excellent examples of building Green productive and social capacities in LDCs. Dr Schories emphasized the need to multiply such initiatives in other LDCs.

Asad Naqvi of UNEP defined Green Economy as low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially inclusive. This can be achieved by transforming the natural capital of LDCs into Green productive capital. Such transformation will require: prioritizing government spending; private sector involvement; transfer of appropriate technology; and ensuring that Greening measures do not lead to protectionism. According to him economic growth and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive and Green growth is not a luxury for LDCs.

In his concluding remarks, the Chair emphasized that trade cannot be viewed in isolation. Economic, social and environmental issues are interlinked and need holistic approaches. This recognition shapes and informs the work by CUTS.