Regional Ministerial Conferences on Green Economy to foster PPP in innovative green investments

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DUBAI — The first of its kind, series of ‘Regional Ministerial Conferences on Green Economy’ is set to launch globally as a result of the success of the annual World Green Economy Summit model which started in 2014, and a direct response to the requests of participating countries and institutional partners to bring green economy solutions closer to the regional contexts and to deepen the impact of transition to a green economy through scaling up and replication of successful practices at the regional level. The high-level forums in five regions will promote successful evidence-based green economy solutions that meet the needs of countries in implementing the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.

The 2019 Regional Ministerial Conferences on Green Economy are organized by the World Green Economy Organization in close cooperation with the United Nations, as well as in partnership with a number of other key stakeholders. They will bring together high-level government officials, representatives of international organizations, including IFIs, foundations, as well as relevant private sector players and civil society actors from each respective region. The conferences will be held for the Asia Pacific Region - in Bangkok, Thailand; Africa – in Cairo, Egypt; Americas – in Fortaleza, Brazil; Middle East and North Africa (MENA) – in Manama, Bahrain; and Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States – in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The Regional Ministerial Conferences on Green Economy are designed as an extension to the annual World Green Economy Summit. The forums aim to raise regional awareness by showcasing and scaling up the impact of successful evidence-based green economy solutions crafted and tested by countries in each respective region. The three thematic focus areas of the 2019 Regional Ministerial Conferences on Green Economy are improving regulatory and policy frameworks for a green economy, promoting innovative green investment through public-private partnerships (PPP), and advancing national-level capacity development for a holistic green action.

Transition to a green economy model requires enabling policy and legislative environment that would draw general economic activity to green sectors by creating attractive investment and business development opportunities. Enabling environment may comprise various elements including national legislative frameworks, policies, fiscal incentives and subsidies, as well as simplified access to international markets, and technical assistance.

Building on the specific examples of successful homegrown solutions, the Regional Ministerial Conferences on Green Economy will help explore the opportunities that exist nowadays in the regions in achieving impactful and noticeable transition to a green economy. The Regional Ministerial Conferences will focus on practical measures that countries can undertake in order to initiate and/or facilitate such transition.

Another important aspect, technology innovation, lies in the heart of transition to a green economy. It is due to the recent breakthroughs in clean and green technologies that the whole idea of greener economy was made possible. Thus, further advancement of technology innovation will inform the speed and quality at which our conventional societies will convert into the greener ones.

The Regional Ministerial Conferences will explore innovation policy and measures in the regions based on specific examples of successful local solutions in eco-innovation in the corporate private sector, as well as in the SME sector. They will aim to identify drivers for the widespread dissemination and adoption of new clean and green technologies, including through South-South and Triangular Cooperation, as well as review the barriers that impede region’s eco-innovation, including lack of, or limited access to, relevant green finance instruments.

A key feature of all green finance instruments is that they make lending/investment decisions with the environmental sustainability standards in mind. While green finance comprises a number of financial instruments, such as public funds, venture capital and angels, project financing, equity, debt, pension funds and green infrastructure bonds, the transition towards a greener economy requires the investment of significant financial resources in “green” sectors.

According to the study commissioned by the UN Environment, the critical mass of annual investment necessary to support transition to a green economy during the 2010–2050 period should represent approximately 2% of the global GDP. These funding requirements for environmentally sustainable investments significantly exceed what the public sector can offer, requiring systematic involvement from private sources of financing.

Compared to other types of investments, green projects possess a number of intrinsic characteristics, such as that they produce cash flows and returns in the longer term, while the large upfront investments required, or, they are often exhibit a higher risk profile due to the relative immaturity of green industries. Effective policy interventions are required to reduce the risks perceived by financial institutions and other investors in funding green projects.

The Regional Ministerial Conferences will examine examples of such effective aiming to identify key drivers for de-risking green investment, and to understand the obstacles that may prevent systematic engagement on the side of the private sector.

In general, while there is an overall agreement among the stakeholders on the importance of a widespread transition to a green economy model, general commitment and good intentions need to be supported by a strong practical foundation, consisting of a range of essential prerequisites. Success in turning the green economy agenda from a concept into a practice naturally correlates with countries’ level of preparedness including from the national capacity point of view.

Developing capacities for green economy planning, strategic management, and implementation requires systematic effort and investment. It should be based on the clear understanding of capacity need and it requires tailor-made solutions that build on capacities already in place. Building on the specific examples of successful homegrown solutions, the Regional Ministerial Conferences will focus on practical measures that countries can undertake, in cooperation with the international community, in order to ensure adequate national capacities for green action. — SG


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