Kazakhstan has called on nations, businesses and NGOs to give the global economy a green boost by uniting behind the nation's Green Bridge initiative at the Rio+20 Summit this week. The Green Bridge initiative is a practical mechanism to achieve an international shift to a green economy, through promoting technology transfer and environment management experience, and putting in place improved legal, economic and institutional conditions to encourage a new wave of green industry.
The adoption of the Green Bridge Partnership Programme at Rio+20 would create a vast new market for green goods, services and new technologies, providing a massive green economic stimulus to the global economy.
At the Summit in Rio, Kazakhstan's Minister for Environmental Protection, Nurlan Kapparov, commented:
"In these difficult economic times, the Green Bridge is one of practical solution to grow and accelerate the green economy around the world. This transition is the only sustainable way for emerging markets to maintain their current growth and for developed nations to grow their way out of recession".
Proposed by Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev at the UN General Assembly in September 2011, the Green Bridge Partnership Programme for 2011-2020 is supported by the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). This represents 95 countries and almost three quarters of the population of the planet, including over 1 billion of the world's poor.
Central Asia faces a number of environmental challenges including water scarcity and inefficiency of energy use. In Kazakhstan alone, the Government has calculated that the Green Economy has the potential to increase energy efficiency by 40-60%, water saving by 50%, and reduce industrial waste by 30 billion tons.
At the same time, the Government predicts huge opportunities for green industry, including organic agriculture, eco-tourism, renewable energy, and a potential fishery industry worth over $1Bn a year. In addition to the Green Bridge initiative, Kazakhstan will also use the Rio Summit to put forward a Global Energy and Environment Strategy, aimed at managing the long-term transition from conventional to sustainable energy.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Green Bridge Partnership Programme
The Green Bridge Partnership Programme is based on the recognition of the urgent need for a radical transformation of the unequal and environmentally destructive 'brown' economy. According to UN estimates, the OECD and the G-20, investments and innovations in natural capital and eco-efficiency provide an opportunity to create a new 'green economy', stimulating long-term growth, employment and socially inclusive development.
The concrete reforms needed to encourage a green economy and tackle transnational environmental issues lie beyond the capacity of individual countries. Joint action is needed to integrate and bring synergy to the disparate array of existing sectoral and regional programs.
The Green Bridge is based on five fundamental principles:
* The leading role of government in such reforms
* Long-term interests of investors to "green" business
* Cooperation of parties: government, private sector, other
* Effective management
* Maximum focus on the practical results
The Programme envisions five main objectives:
* Strengthening governance: national and international
* Developing informational infrastructure, outreach and education
* Encouraging Green Business and Technologies
* Introducing effective financial and economic mechanisms
* Creating standards for the green economy
It targets five core sectors:
* Conservation of mountain, water and other ecosystems
* Sustainable energy, its availability and efficiency
* Food security
* Urban Infrastructure & Transport
* Adaptation to climate change and natural disasters