OECD Green Growth Studies

ISSN :
2222-9523 (online)
ISSN :
2222-9515 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/22229523
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The OECD Green Growth Strategy aims to provide concrete recommendations and measurement tools, including indicators, to support countries’ efforts to achieve economic growth and development, while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which well-being relies. The strategy proposes a flexible policy framework that can be tailored to different country circumstances and stages of development.

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Food and Agriculture

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Author(s):
OECD
Publication Date :
24 Nov 2011
Pages :
84
ISBN :
9789264107250 (PDF) ; 9789264111233 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/9789264107250-en

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As part of the OECD Green Growth Strategy, this new series aims to provide in-depth reviews of the green growth issues faced by different sectors. The agriculture and fisheries sectors have an important role to play in contributing to greener growth, in particular through facilitating the uptake of green technologies and management practices and reducing waste in the food chain. This will involve a range of policies, including: the reform of environmentally harmful subsidies that distort efficient resource use; freer international trade; shifting towards targeted policies that will support poor and vulnerable farmers; rewarding the provision of ecosystem services; and encouraging R&D, technologies and management practices that improve the productivity of resource use. Framing appropriate "greening" policies is also a major governance issue which requires examining the incentives and disincentives generated by policies, as well as the regulatory and institutional framework more broadly.

 

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    Foreword
    This report is part of the OECD Green Growth Studies series. The OECD’s synthesis report Towards Green Growth was launched at the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting on 25-26 May 2011. The present report was prepared by Wilfrid Legg, with the assistance of Hsin Huang and input from Carl-Christian Schmidt. Other colleagues at the OECD Secretariat also provided comments on earlier drafts. Françoise Bénicourt, Theresa Poincet, Véronique de Saint-Martin, and Noura Takrouri-Jolly provided secretarial and statistical assistance.
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    Executive Summary
    This report outlines a broad strategy for green growth in the food and agriculture sector. It is part of the OECD’s Green Growth Strategy that seeks to define an economic development path that is consistent with long-run environmental protection, using natural resources within their carrying capacity, while providing acceptable living standards and poverty reduction in all countries. The need for green growth arises because a "business as usual" path does not fully account for environmental limits and social concerns.
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    Background
    Green growth requires that in the coming decades enough food is provided for an increasing, and increasingly affluent, global population while reducing environmental pressure.
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    The need for greening food and agriculture
    Future challenges relating to greater pressure on natural resources and climate change imply that a "business as usual" growth model is not a viable option. Green growth places strong emphasis on the complementarities between the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.
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    Future challenges and opportunities
    The challenges facing agriculture are complex. Global issues such as food insecurity, climate change, water availability, biodiversity and associated ecosystem service loss need to be addressed simultaneously. Innovation in food and agriculture is a key element in meeting those challenges. Increased productivity needs to balance immediate demands for feeding the world against future concerns for environmental sustainability.
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    The role of policy in contributing to green growth in agriculture and food
    A key role for government is to find cost-effective ways to account for environmental externalities that are not factored into producer and consumer decisions. This means reforming existing policies, enforcing the polluter pays principle, and finding incentives for producers to generate environmental services while increasing food production.
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    Measuring progress towards green growth in food and agriculture
    A green growth strategy needs measurement tools to help policy makers evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of their policies and the extent to which they are shifting economic activity onto a greener path. It is necessary to identify measurable green growth policy targets related to food production and consumption, economic efficiency, resource use, environmental impact, and social welfare. There is a need to develop indicators for the food and agriculture sector that together can track progress towards green growth.
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    Delivering green growth in food and agriculture
    A green growth strategy for food and agriculture requires a well targeted, coordinated and coherent response to the economic, environmental and social challenges in the coming decades. This will involve a wide range of policy measures, some sector specific, some economy-wide. Actions to promote green growth should not only complement existing priorities but also, where necessary, change priorities in order to take advantage of beneficial overlaps (finding win-win solutions) where possible.
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    Conclusions
    The food and agriculture sector is crucially important in the green growth context because it is the major user of land, water and marine resources and has important linkages with biodiversity. While the sector can cause environmental harm, it also provides valued environmental services. This is true notwithstanding the fact that it typically accounts for a small share of employment and GDP in most OECD countries, though much larger shares in many developing countries.
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