20th July 2011, Apia, Samoa – The Pacific discussions on green growth commenced today with an Open Forum which aims to promote discussion and awareness of the issues that surround the theme of Rio+20, "green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty alleviation".
The Forum was officially opened by Samoa's Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Honourable Faamoetauloa Lealaiauloto Taito Dr Faale Tumaalii, who stated that the "meeting is a timely welcome and opportunity for us, as decision and policy makers, to discuss the strengthening of multilateral environment governance to make it more reflective of the 21st centuries challenges and realities."
The forum which is a prelude to the Joint Ministerial meeting will feature presentations and discussions around the five pathways for green growth and its relevance for the Pacific, (i) Investing in natural capital; (ii) Promoting sustainable infrastructure; (iii) Greening business and markets; (iii) Promoting sustainable production and consumption patterns; and (v) Promoting green fiscal and taxation policies and budgetary reforms. In essence the pathways constitute a strategic formula for achieving the transition to a green economy and sustainable development.
It is also an opportunity to engage a wider platform through governments, local and regional NGOs, regional and international organisations, to take stock of the progress towards achieving sustainable development, as well as to highlight implementation gaps, challenges and constraints unique to the Pacific.
"We should not be bogged down by technical discussions on what is green economy, what's important is for us to focus on the implementation of activities on the ground in order to improve sustainable development and eradicate poverty," said Mr Kosi Latu, Acting Director of SPREP.
The deliberations and discussions from the two day forum will culminate in common outcomes which will be submitted to the Joint Ministerial meeting for consideration.
"We hope that the Open Forum will provide us with a common understanding of how "greening" the economy offers a concrete and additional measure or pathway for achieving sustainable development." stated Mr Iosefa Maiava, Head of UNESCAP Pacific Office.
The Open Forum included project field visits and public displays to promote green economy materials and projects. Field visits to "green" projects were conducted in the afternoon to show practical examples of how greening at different levels can be achieved with positive results in a number of areas; waste management, renewable energy, food security and income generation.
The Open Forum is scheduled from 20 – 21 July and will precede the Ministerial meeting on Friday 22 July 2011.
More news available on the Climate Pasifika blog.