Vijay Reddy attends the United Nations Conference on Green Economy and Sustainable Development

Dr Maharaj Vijay Reddy was invited to attend the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development’s conference on ‘Green Economy and Sustainable Development’ at the European headquarters of the United Nations Office in Geneva UNOG (10-11 Oct 2011).   The aim of this cutting-edge conference was to debate and identify the sustainability and green economy priorities and to prepare and shape subsequent social policy discussions before the Rio+20 global summit next year.

The UNOG conference received invited attendees from different parts of the world from several international organisations (e.g. UNDESA, UNESCAP, UNEP, UNESCO, and UNDP), many national and international funding agencies (e.g. World Bank, DFID, AUSAid), research institutes and leading universities. Key areas covered in the discussions include: the Global Economic Crisis, Nature in the Market-World, The Social Dimensions of Carbon Trading, Economic Growth, Social Divides and Sustainable Development, Climate Change, Double Injustice and Social Policy, The Global Political Economy, Governance in Environmental Policy, Realizing Pro-Poor Development in the Carbon Commodity Chain, The Potential and Constraints on the Payment for Ecosystem Services Markets, Agriculture and Rural Development, An Institutional Analysis of Biofuel Policies and their Social Implications in Developing Countries, and Future Research and Directions for Rio+20.

2 Responses to Vijay Reddy attends the United Nations Conference on Green Economy and Sustainable Development

  1. This is really interesting Vijay. Could you say anything more about what was discussed in terms of research priorities and the issues that are likely to receive particular attention at Rio+20?

    • Many thanks, Adrian. Happy to discuss more during Fusion event on 14 Dec. I think the aspects likely to receive attention at Rio+20 would be: the vulvernable groups [e.g. Small Island Developing States; and countries already facing the impacts of climate change, countries with poor population; the ‘funding’ and expertise needed to make the GE technology approaches work for larger population; the the need for inclusive growth – change the production and consumption/consumer patterns, (starting from agriculture to manufacturing – agriculure was often discussed in Geneva as the fertilisers and pestisides are more harmful – nitrogen is three times problematic than carbon, etc), there may be more criticism on some of the less performing counties as like the last Copenhagen summit . Geneva preparatory conference focussed mainly on the broader social (and economic) priorities. Key aspects I particuarly found interesting were: 1. importance given to the social dimension of GE and the trasnformation going on in many countries when the lifestyle changes (system change, not climate change) are need to avoid serious crisis (e.g. in terms of food, electicity, fuel). 2) The developing countries have started showing more interest than the developed countries in some of the GE approaches (the developing countries are a step ahead in terms of solar and similar aspects though they are also using harmful elements/fuels in manufacturing) and that they need more help/aid in terms of widening their initiatives as well as provision of the expertise needed to help with the GE transformation 3) this then linked by few experts (UNESCO) with the role of education, which is important (the BU GE course flashed in my mind). Green jobs / scarcity were emphasised by few. 4) Appreciation and making more use of indigenous skills and knowledge available were emphasised…(reducing carbon via less expensive ways). there is lot more need to be done in this area for better use of ecosystem (by all) and rain forest conservation related aspects..REDD+, etc. 5) More closer look into the day-to-day practices of the larger companies/coporations and the ways they adapt to GE practices. 6) Only few commented about the travel/ energy efficiency research (I was disappointed to see less importance given to tourism in this particular conference, emphasised the tourism dimensions with one of the organisers). 6) wider agreement on the scientific studies, models and their grassroot adaptation, etc were stressed. I should also mention here that few also commented that though the GE approach provides a slim ray of hope still the future global adaptation aspects look gloomy….Sorry for the typos, happy to chat on14th. Good weekend!! Regards,vijay

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