Transitioning to a Green Economy

Transitioning to a Green Economy

Political Economy of Approaches in Small States You do not have access to this content

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Edited By:Nadine Smith, Anna Halton, Janet Strachan
31 Mar 2014
9781848599178 (PDF)

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While the term ‘green economy’ has been widely used at the international level, very little information exists about what the concept looks like in practice. What are the policies required? What are the challenges of implementation at national level?
This book contains case studies from eight small states that have committed publicly to greening their economies: Botswana, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Mauritius, Nauru, Samoa and Seychelles. It provides insights into the success of various initiatives and highlights how small states themselves are making practical progress on a green economy approach.

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  • Preface

    The concept of a ‘green economy’ has received considerable international attention as a model of how to overcome the challenges of climate change and promote sustainable development. A large amount of discussion and analysis has helped to conceptualise the green economy and set out model policies that could help to realise it. There has been far less analysis of the realities of putting this concept in practice, and in particular, what the implications and options are for small states to transform their economies in this way. There is recognition that the transformation to a green economy requires a consistent and joined-up approach, to shift incentives and investments toward less resource-intensive technologies and industries. It also requires sustained support from the highest levels of government, backed by communication campaigns to persuade businesses and citizens of the value of greening their activities. These are not straightforward or linear processes, and so it is worthwhile to reflect on which pathways may be identified by particular countries and what these can hope to achieve.

  • Abbreviations and acronyms
  • The Political Economy of Transitioning to a Green Economy in Small States

    The United Nations (UN) recognises 38 small island developing states (SIDS) and a further 14 SIDS that are not UN members. The Commonwealth defines small states as those with a population of 1.5 million or less, but considers some larger countries (e.g. Botswana, Jamaica, Lesotho, Namibia and Papua New Guinea) as small states because they share many of their characteristics.

  • The Political Economy of Transitioning to a Green Economy in Botswana

    Botswana, a land-locked country in the centre of southern Africa, is one of the 31 small states of the Commonwealth. It is a small country by population and economy standards; however, it is large in geographic size with a land mass of 582,000 km2. There are three types of land tenure

  • The Political Economy of Transitioning to a Green Economy in Grenada

    This case study is framed from the backdrop that the concept of the green economy has received considerable attention globally, and has been one of the two key themes of the June 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

  • The Political Economy of Transitioning to a Green Economy in Guyana

    Guyana, a small1 state with a stable population of approximately 756,000, is located in the north-eastern corner of the South American continent between 1°10' and 8°35' north and 56°20' and 61°23' west of the equator (Figure 4.1). Guyana’s coastline, which is inhabited by approximately 90 per cent of the population, lies at 1.4 metres below mean high-tide level, and is particularly vulnerable to flooding, erosion and salinisation.

  • The Political Economy of Transitioning to a Green Economy in Jamaica

    The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)’s comprehensive report on the green economy in 2011 began with the observation that, ‘The last two years have seen the idea of a "green economy" float out of its specialist moorings in environmental economics and into the mainstream of policy discourse’ (UNEP 2011, 14). The explanation for the emergence of the idea seemed to be both the rejection of the dominant economic paradigm, with its crises and market failures in the opening decade of the new millennium, and the positive possibilities of ‘a new economic paradigm – one in which material wealth is not delivered perforce at the expense of growing environmental risks, ecological scarcities and social disparities’ (ibid, 14). At Rio+20 in 2012, the concept took centre stage as both a reaffirmation of the commitment to sustainable development and a step forward to build resilience in a world of economic uncertainties and accelerating climate change.

  • The Political Economy of Transitioning to a Green Economy in Mauritius

    Sustainable development is now firmly established as the dominant development paradigm around the world. The growing general scientific consensus on the effects of heavy industrialisation and economic growth on global warming, in particular, is reinforcing the notion that ‘business as usual’ is no longer sustainable. Climate models predict changes in sea levels and severity of storms, and the patterns of rainfall, among others. Such changes will have greater impact on developing countries, and more particularly on small island developing states (SIDS), because of their inherent vulnerability. There is also the realisation that sustainable development is not just an environmental issue: the dire economic, developmental and societal consequences of issues like climate change and environmental degradation puts the economic planners and financial managers at the centre of the debate. As a consequence, low-carbon growth as an alternative to ‘business as usual’ is fast becoming the preferred model for major economies in both developed and developing countries. Its relevance lies in the fact that one of the objectives of low-carbon growth of the green economy is to manage risks posed by global warming and climate change, and to take advantage of the opportunities that they offer in terms of new technology development and greater efficiency in industrial processes. It has now been clearly demonstrated that sustainable development makes economic sense, as more jobs are created and the externalities that traditional models of development generate are limited. Furthermore, it helps create new and decent jobs in new sectors.

  • The Political Economy of Transitioning to a Green Economy in Nauru

    Ideally a ‘green economy’ in the ‘blue world’ of Nauru’s surrounding ocean would be one that delivers equitable improvement in living standards without eroding environmental assets. Since Nauru’s land assets have already largely been eroded, its future depends on re-establishing a basic environment through a rehabilitationfocused ‘greening’ of the land coupled with a careful management of its marine resources.

  • The Political Economy of Transitioning to a Green Economy in Samoa

    Samoa’s economy was predominantly driven by the export of agricultural products during the German colonisation period from the 1880s, through the New Zealand occupation between 1914 and 1961, to the early stages of Samoa’s independence up until the 1990s. Since the 1990s, agricultural exports have declined and they now only account for less than 10 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The decline in agricultural exports was driven by several factors, including changing export markets, legislative amendments that made it harder to maintain large plantations, the devastating cyclones that besieged the country in 1990 and 1991, and the taro blight of 1993. As the contribution of the agricultural sector decreased, other new industries started to take off, such as the fishing, tourism, manufacturing and tertiary service industries. Additionally, with increasing Samoan emigrant populations residing in American Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, USA and other parts of the world, the remittances contribution to the national economy now fluctuates around 24–25 per cent of GDP (Ministry of Finance [MoF] 2011a).

  • The Political Economy of Transitioning to a Green Economy in Seychelles

    The concept of the ‘green economy’ is still under debate. Many countries are apprehensive of the process of transitioning to a green economy. They fear that greening key economic sectors could reduce economic growth, while committing them to costly investments and diverting attention away from pressing economic priorities. For these and other reasons, the shift to a green economy and adoption of green growth principles, while a reality in a growing number of countries, has generally been slow.

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