Green economy at the Pacific Environment Forum
- Published on 12 September 2011
"Greening the economy is not a new concept to Pacific Islanders, ingrained within us is the understanding that we are the custodians of our environment." – Vaitoti Tupa, Director of the Cook Islands National Environment Service
Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication was a topic for discussion during the Pacific Environment Forum in Apia, Samoa.
Mr. Greg Sherley, from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), made a presentation that highlighted the sustainability crisis facing the world such as the climate change issue currently faced by Pacific islanders.
He said some of these crises are biodiversity loss, land degradation and water shortage.
Mr Sherley added that some of the causes are closely linked with economic activities aimed at maximising wealth from natural capital to improve human well-being.
"Green economy can be a response to tackling the sustainability crises. The green economy is more than just a green growth. It cuts across many sectors of society including the creation of employment opportunities, the encouragement and use of cleaner technologies, boosting of national economies, development and poverty alleviation.
Mr Stephen Powell, from the Australian government, also made a presentation on this topic, he said to progress towards a green economy, the concept had to be a vehicle for achieving sustainable development and be flexible with different national circumstance and economic priorities.
He explained that the Pacific Small Islands Developing States emphasis on a blue economy is a Pacific concept adding that the blue economy is a green economy except with the Pacific dependence on marine resources and its ecosystems.
Vaitoti Tupa, Director of the Cook Islands Environment Service, said the Cook Islands identified existing national level activities and opportunities for greening their island economy.
"For the Cook Islands, sustainable development reflects an approach that is consistent with a green economy approach and the Green Growth strategy. Green the economy is not a new concept to Pacific Islanders, ingrained within us is the understanding that we are the custodians of our environment."