May 30, 2012
A green, fair and inclusive economy provides a better quality of life for all within the ecological limits of the planet:
1. The Sustainable Principle. A green, fair and inclusive economy is a means to deliver sustainability
It is one of the vehicles to deliver sustainable development – not a replacement for it.It respects its dependency on a healthy environment and it strives to create wellbeing for all It addresses all three dimensions (environmental, social and economic) and develops policy mixes that integrate and seek the best results across all of them.
2. The Justice Principle. A green, fair and inclusive economy supports equity
It supports equity between and within countries and between generations. It respects human rights and cultural diversity
It promotes gender equality and recognises knowledge, skills, experience and contribution of each individual
It respects indigenous peoples rights to lands, territories and resources
3. The Dignity Principle. A green, fair and inclusive economy creates genuine prosperity and wellbeing for all
It alleviates poverty
It delivers a high level of human development in all countries
It provides food security and universal access to basic health, education, sanitation, water, energy and other essential services
It transforms traditional jobs by building capacity and skills, respects the rights of workers and actively develops new, decent green jobs and careers
It achieves a just transition.
It acknowledges the contribution of unpaid work
It promotes the self-empowerment and education of women
It support the right to development if delivered in a sustainable way
4. Healthy Planet Principle. A green, fair and inclusive economy restores lost biodiversity, invests in natural systems and rehabilitates those that are degraded
It recognizes its dependency on the productivity of ecosystems and biodiversity
It does not violate, disrupt, or overstep ecological boundaries and commits to co-operate within them, including reducing pollution, safeguarding ecosystems, biodiversity integrity, other natural resources including air, water, soil, and bio-geochemical cycles
It ensures that environmental integrity is maintained before allocating resources among competing uses
It ensures an efficient and wise use of natural resources, including water, natural gas, oil and mineral resources, without compromising future generations prospects
It supports the respect of all forms of life
It applies the precautionary principle
It assesses of the potential impact of new technologies and innovations before they are released
It assesses the environmental impacts of economic policies and seeks to find the least disruptive, most positive benefit for the environment and people
It promotes the restoration of balance between ecological and social relations
5. The Inclusion Principle. A green, fair and inclusive economy is inclusive and participatory in decision-making
It is based on transparency, sound science and the visible engagement of all relevant stakeholders
It supports good governance at all levels from local to global
It empowers citizens and promotes full and effective voluntary participation at all levels
It respects cultural values, is tolerant to religious views and lifestyle choices, and sensitive to ethical considerations
It build societal awareness, developing education and skills\
It is transparent, inclusive and participatory, giving equal opportunities to, and advocating further for the rights of, young and old, women and men, poor and low skilled workers, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities and local communities
6. The Good Governance and Accountability Principle. A green, fair and inclusive economy is accountable
It provides a framework to structure markets and production in consultation with all stakeholders
It reports its sustainable progress on environmental, social and economic measures, in company, national and international accounts.
It achieves transparency
It promotes international cooperation and defines international liability
It promotes global policy coherence and fair international cooperation
It promotes common but differentiated responsibilities
It commits to international human rights standards and environmental agreements
7. The Resilience Principle. A green, fair and inclusive economy contributes to economic, social and environmental resilience
It supports the development of social and environmental protection systems, and preparedness against and adaptation for climate extreme events and disasters
It creates a universal social protection floor.
It promotes a variety of green economy models relevant to different cultural, social and environmental contexts
It considers indigenous local knowledge and promotes the sharing of diverse knowledge systems
It builds on local skills and capacities and develops these further
It supports sustainable, diverse economies and local livelihoods
It promotes systems approaches, recognising the interdependence and integrated nature of these systems, underpinned by culture and ethical values
8. The Efficiency and Sufficiency Principle. A green, fair and inclusive economy delivers sustainable consumption and production
It seeks to ensure prices reflect true costs incorporating social and environmental externalities
It implements the polluter pays principle
It supports life-cycle management, and strives for zero emission, zero waste, resource efficiency and optimal water use
It prioritises renewable energy and renewable resources
It seeks absolute decoupling of production and consumption from negative social and environmental impact
It delivers sustainable lifestyles supporting a major cultural transformation
It promotes social, economic and environmental innovation
It gives fair rights to access intellectual property within a global legal framework
9. The Generations Principle. A green, fair and inclusive economy invests for the present and the future
It delivers inter-generational and intra-generational fairness
It promotes conservation of resources and the quality of life over the long term
It influences and regulates the finance sector so that it invests in the green, fair and inclusive economy and achieves a stable global monetary system
It prioritises long-term, scientifically-sound decision making above the short-term
It promotes equitable education at all levels and sustainability education for children
May 19, 2012
So, the last couple of years have seen issues of climate change and environmental degradation take centre stage in the global arena. More important, the role of human beings in creating and even aggravating these challenges is more prominent that ever. In 1987, there was a report from a commission called the Brundtland Commission which proposed the concept of Sustainable Development. In simple terms, sustainable development is development which uses resources in such a manner that they will still be available for use by future generations.
It is on this concept of sustainable development that the Green Economy model is hinged upon. Initiated by the United Nations Environment Programme, the definition of the Green Economy is one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. In short, the Green Economy will make certain that profit is not the only driving factor of businesses. Other factors such as ecological impacts of businesses will also be included. For example, timber merchandises will have to make sure that they replant trees which they cut down, and that chemical companies do not pollute their ecological systems.
In order to fully comprehend the Green Economy model, it is imperative that you understand the concept of sustainable development. The latter is hinged on three pillars of sustainability, namely: environmental sustainability, social sustainability and economic sustainability. Environmental sustainability deals with the concept of using natural resources in such a manner as to ensure their availability to future generations. Social sustainability deals with issues that affect society such as health, gender equality and peace. On the other hand, economic sustainability deals with corruption, fair trade and fair pay and debt, among other issues. Thus, a Green Economy encompasses all these aspects in order to ensure that development is all encompassing.
Currently, almost half of the global human population is under 25 years of age, and this is the impetus young people have taken in order to address issues affecting them. Youth activism has been fortified by the current information revolution that is transforming how people are interacting. With the availability of troves of information and social networking tools, young people have come to the realization that they have to take leadership in addressing these gigantic human development challenges, as they are the most vulnerable demographic cohort. New activism models such as Clicktivism have also come into play. Such divisions as North – South superiority assumptions which have prevailed for decades, if not for centuries, are being blurred by the pace at which the world is globalizing. Now, more than ever, young people from all over the world are coming together to address these human challenges as they have realized that they share common but differentiated challenges. A candid example of this form of collaboration is the current global campaign by young people to have their views heard at the forthcoming epic Earth Summit in June in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Through the Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY), one of the nine constituent groups of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), young people have organized massive global mobilization and awareness campaigns towards the process; they have even provide policy input to the main summit. Such is the testament of how young people are addressing global challenges without having to blame or wait upon adults to do so.
However, it is important to note some distinctive facts, with special emphasis on the African continent. This is the continent with the biggest natural resource wealth, and about 70% of the population is under 30 years of age. But, there are many conflicts that dot the continent, and most of them are fuelled by the fight for natural resources such as minerals, oil and water; these wars are mainly fought by child soldiers. Also, climate change is ravaging the continent, as desertification is eating up arable land, water scarcity is on the rise; perpetual cycles of famine are now the norm, and there are never-ending conflicts such as the blood-diamond conflicts in West Africa and DR Congo.
This presents the ultimate opportunity for Africa to re-evaluate its development concepts and embrace the Green Economy in the appropriate context. It is important to note that the Green Economy is not cast in stone, contrary to what many critics usually point out. Rather, it is a template which each society can customize to meet their needs. Social sustainability will address the weak social systems that afflict African Societies; therefore, a social safety net will ensure that every member of a society enjoys the benefits of development. People will get access to health care; poverty will be reduced and even eradicated; peace will prevail as proper natural resource governance will be implemented; people will get equal opportunities irrespective of gender. Corruption will be effectively dealt with; crippling debts of poor countries will be written off and trade rules will be improved. Last but not least, people will benefit from the sustainable use of natural resources as everyone will have access to safe drinking water; sustainable agriculture will make sure that there is no more famine and future generations will be able to use natural resources in developing their societies.
The Green Economy model of sustainable development is already underway, thanks to the many business enterprises which are sustainable in nature. What is needed now is to mainstream this concept in order to improve our societies. The framework is there; the will and power of people and institutions need to be fortified, and we will have sustainable development, hence sustainable societies.
There is need to demystify the long held myth that associates trekking with poverty in the African context and the time is now. Over the years we have been made to believe that affluence is the ultimate measure of ones’ well being. Modesty is regarded as unfashionable.
Non- motorized transport (riding bicycles, walking, skating); a very common scenario in the developed countries especially Denmark, Canada, Netherlands, is not only pollution free but also contributes to ones’ wellness in terms of being fit since it is exercise in itself. Kenya’s case may be a bit different considering the state of our roads and the apparent unwillingness to invest in a reliable railway transport and the pot-holed road network with no lanes for cyclists. It doesn’t however imply that the inopportune trend cannot be reversed. The relevant authorities should be pushed into action. Non-motorized transport should be our focus in absence of an efficient low carbon transport.
Time has come to frown on materialism, the act of amassing what you don’t need as exemplified by former Philippines’ First Lady Imelda Marcos from our national psyche. At the back of our mind we need to know that we can live a modest and fulfilling life without necessarily accumulating wealth to obscene levels. As the world leaders focus on Rio + 20 Summit on Sustainable Development, we should ask ourselves, as individuals, what role we would want to play to contribute towards a Green Economy (sustainable, low carbon); the very focus of the conference scheduled to take place in Brazil in June, 2012.
The Kenya’s Vision 2030 will remain just that, a vision, if deliberate steps are not taken to encourage green jobs (which has a potential to solve the unemployment conundrum through these sectors; energy, building, basic industry, transport, food and agriculture, forestry etc).
Let us popularize walking, cycling to and from work, when going to the shopping centre and generally, short distances. You will not only find it leisurely but also rewarding.
I got bus fare from town to my neighbourhood but I choose to walk, who will dare join me and demystify this fallacious mentality in the African context?