Regional Policy Briefing No. 7Building resilience in small island economies: from vulnerabilities to opportunities Hotel Victoria, Pointe aux Piments, Mauritius, 23-24 April 2012 Carol Ayoung Chief Executive Officer
The Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA) and Mauritius Strategy• The BPOA and Mauritius Strategy continue to be effective roadmaps for SIDS and their development needs, but despite having its own roadmap, progress has been largely inadequate.• SIDS are acutely aware that since Rio there has been an increase in natural disasters and that SIDS have also weathered one of the worst financial crises in memory, along with a food crisis, thus adding to SIDS vulnerabilities.• The Caribbean private sector alluded to the vulnerability of the region and other SIDS to the impact of climate change and the need for clear goals in leveraging and implementing adaptation and mitigation measures.• The Region’s agriculture and food security vision and the need for their advancement - without strong financial support, achieving sustainable development will be daunting.• The region is aware of its unique priorities, necessary implementation mechanisms, and required resources• The economic imbalances within the CARICOM Region and the need for data linked to the existing institutional arrangements, are factors affecting the Region’s sustainable development.• The Private sector views the Green Economy as an opportunity to effect change by improving the region’s overall competitiveness.
RIO+20 Private sector issues:• A Roadmap is needed which can be used as a mechanism for inputs from this region• Need to ensure that the unique vulnerabilities of Caribbean SIDS were adequately reflected.• Poverty remains an issue integral to the development challenges of Caribbean states.• Disasters and development should remain high on the international agenda.• The Liliendal Declaration on Climate Change and Development calls for the Region to take certain actions which establishes a Regional framework for building climate resilience.• The region should urgently explore low carbon development pathways (sustainable dev)• Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) is one of the crucial emerging issues for the Region.• Coastal Zone Management is an important sector demanding greater attention in the region.• Best practices are needed re: strengthening implementation & implementation mechanisms.• Financial assistance is underscored as essential to support & facilitate national preparations.• There is a need for immediate and adequate resources, financial and otherwise, to engage citizens in their various countries to educate, consult and dialogue on issues pertaining to Rio+20.• It was felt that without strong financial support, achieving sustainable development will be daunting for SIDS.
Green Economy in the Context of Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication• The Caribbean private sector is of the view that the concept of a Green Economy needs to be clearly defined within the context of Caribbean SIDS and must reflect the Principles of Sustainable Development enshrined in the Rio Declaration, particularly Principle 6.• Green Economy should be seen as a complementary approach to existing strategies• The private sector agrees that the Green Economy has to be defined for each country i.e. whether it is a paradigm, a tool, or an alternative path to sustainable development.• The challenges of developing and transitioning to a Green Economy include the need to: a) be aware of the policy process moving from conceptual stage to implementation to impact; b) focus on fiscal deficits; c) determine who the key actors are; d) identify targeted real capacity-building requirements; e) specify a possible role for the business sector and encourage public buy-in; f) overcome limited absorptive capacity and financial constraints to undertake a full needs assessment; g) do cost benefit analyses to ascertain transition costs (e.g. energy) vs. the cost of business as usual.• Current discussions on Green Economy have so far not addressed key relevant issues e.g. climate change and extreme weather-related events, and green employment opportunities for youth• An understanding of how Green Economy can eradicate poverty and provide linkages to sustainable consumption and production should be developed and clarified.
Caribbean Green Economy Initiatives - SIDSDock Guyana’s successful Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) model - developed through extensive national consultations to build a climate-resilient economy; Dominica’s Organic Isle initiative to promote organic farming; Suriname’s Green Energy Initiative; Grenada’s planned Green Energy Initiative; Barbados’s Green Economy Initiative and Green Technologies in Tourism Development (the Harrison’s Cave) project; The Dominican Republic’s reforestation project; and The Caribbean Biological Corridor initiative - a joint effort among several countries .• A main challenge is in obtaining political support. Thus, creating an enabling environment and ensuring political commitment at the highest possible level will be important.• Risks: Green Economy is considered uncharted waters for SIDS in terms of predicting such risks. It was felt that the Caribbean SIDS would therefore need to learn from lessons yet to be documented.
Challenges encountered in pursuing a Green Economy• Six challenges encountered : – Policy Design versus Policy Implementation versus Policy Impact – Current focus of Ministers’ of Finance- in the context of the global recession (deficits, inflation, reduced disposable income, social programming) – Real Capacity Needs within Government, Civil Society, and the Private Sector – Deeper role needed by Private Sector – Public Buy-In – Finding Space to Take Stock - Are our Policies having impact?• Transition to a Green Economy could be achieved by building a climate resistant economy.• Existing frameworks should be streamlined to avoid duplication, address institutional challenges and to avoid the destruction of international systems.• Green Economy is about doing business in a different way e.g. Use of renewable energies.• Three possible risks were highlighted, namely – the financing deficit and the fact that there is no one solution in dealing with financing. – the region has to examine its capacity to spend and absorb funding – The Region has to be cognizant of what happens after June 2012.• There is a need to secure financing for sustained public education and involvement, and to consider how to integrate Green Economy strategies into existing policies.
Other Challenges & Best PracticeOther Challenges:• Lack of a useful working definition for Green Economy (GE) does not: – assist with setting clearly defined targets or goals (UNEP: GE results in improved human economy); – demonstrate how Rio principles will be fulfilled. UNEP has not provided any link with sustainable development or clarified how the concept should be linked with poverty eradication.• GE may be interpreted as another expression of linking economy with environment- challenge of establishing linkages between new terms: low carbon economy, sustainable production and consumption- GE may constitute discussing sustainable development under a different name.• GE must be discussed in the context of finance, capacity building, and technology transfer.Best Practice:• An existing successful model is SIDS Dock, a renewable energy initiative launched in Cancún could be utilised as a platform for transforming the energy sector.• GE should take into account SIDS-specific interests such as ecosystems, oceans, coastal and marine resources and integrated coastal zone management.• There needs to be a comprehensive marine and oceans policy framework for the region addressing both natural resources and national security issues including issues such as the drug trade, shipping, tourism, and fishing.
Opportunities & RisksOpportunities:• Fashioning a meaning for the term “Green Economy” and turning it toward the benefit of SIDS• The opportunity to put a cost on ecosystem services• Monetising biodiversity products, taking advantage of abundance of natural resources.Risks:• Green Economy (GE) could be a distraction from the critical issues.• Value-added of GE not clear or certain.• GE viewed as a developed country strategy grounded in technological advancements and economic prospects that may only benefit developed countries (market driven concept); an area where SIDS face significant challenges.• Negative implications for trade: product definition by energy intensity; discriminatory standards; may constitute barriers to trade.
Institutional Framework Issues• Better coordination needed between regional institutions and global institutions plus a comprehensive mapping of the regional organisations that are available to Caribbean SIDS• The importance of financial assistance to support and facilitate national preparations• Clarification of the roles of regional and international institutions is deemed necessary• At the regional level, it is critical to review, streamline, strengthen and improve the framework for more coherent collaboration and cooperation among existing institutional mechanisms in the Caribbean.• The plethora of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and the attendant suite of procedures and protocols to be adhered to in pursuing implementation of all and the many different financing mechanisms which support their implementation.• Institutions supporting regional and national sustainable development initiatives need to be better resourced.• A comprehensive mapping of the regional organisations that support programming for Caribbean SIDS in the interest of obtaining more complete information on the resources that might be accessed
Means of Implementation & Next StepsMEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION• There is need for the formulation of specific fundraising strategies to address country needs.• The importance of SIDSNet to the region was underscored, not only for promoting the sharing of information and experiences but also for capacity-building and for technical cooperation to match supply and demand in terms of expertise and advisory services.• To complement the Roadmap to Rio + 20, a communication strategy is needed.NEXT STEPS• Collect and document successful models and case studies of Green Economy initiatives in the region.• Undertake mapping of existing regional coordination and/or collaborative mechanisms, identifying their respective focus areas, expertises, strengths, weaknesses and potentials.• Explore the role of SIDSNet in fulfilling the functions originally intended for the Regional Coordinating Mechanism (RCM), including knowledge and information management, exchange of best practices, transfer of experiences, promotion of partnerships, mobilizing resources, etc.• Partnerships are still needed to promote implementation of Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration.
New and Emerging Issues• Non Communicable Diseases• Ecosystem Services– especially pertaining to REDD+, marine ecosystem services and emerging blue carbon frameworks• Development of the Arctic Economy due to melting of the ice cap and opening of new shipping routes, and its potential impact on sea level rise and Caribbean economies• Climate Change and Security• Challenges to the SIDS case for special treatment and to the recognition of SIDS vulnerability based on their special and particular circumstances• New economic situation; brain drain; funding arrangements for SIDS; need for greater recognition of challenges and vulnerabilities at the international level; new terminologies such as “green and blue economy”;• Concern that the SIDS case for special treatment is being eroded;• Continued attention to be given to the food and economic crises;• Concern at the increasing intensity of natural disasters (increasing vulnerability);• The need to aggressively promote the use of the human development index over of per capita GDP as the principal criterion for assessing eligibility for development assistance.
Considerations for the Green Economy• New financing models are needed to encourage strategic investments in projects that support the growth of GE e.g. for capacity building, technology transfer etc.• Pursuit of GE has trade implications because products and services will be defined with relation to carbon benchmarking. Trade inequality issues need to be addressed• GE could also be used as a market driven concept to only benefit developed countries and possible trade barriers may emerge via the discriminatory standards.• For GE to be widely accepted, a people-centred approach is needed involving relevant actors across sectors into activities in implementing initiatives.• Promoting a transition from traditional industry to an advanced manufacturing industry (with innovation and resource efficiency) with both economic and ecological benefits is crucial to achieve sustainable development.• The post 2012 GE Strategies will have to be integrated into existing policies. A clear link between GE and Poverty Eradication is needed.• More discussion is needed on the appropriate policy mix for transitioning to Green Economy and on methodologies to integrate the relevant principles into government policies.• Is the Green Economy merely an implementation tool or an end in itself? The Green Economy was viewed as a methodology to achieve sustainable development.• Further discussion is needed on the social pillar focusing on youth jobs and job creation.• More durable infrastructure must be put in place to minimize sustainability-related risks and
Without access to sustainable energy, there can be no sustainable development THE END