Green Economy Not Taking Off in Latin America

A year after endorsing the principles of the green economy at the Río +20 summit, Latin America is making little progress towards sustainable development models, according to experts.

The region “is generally in a precarious situation; although there have been efforts in public policy-making to integrate natural capital as an element in economic sustainability, there have been few cases,” Isabel Studer, director of the Global Institute for Sustainability (IGS) at the private Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, told IPS. “There is no comprehensive, cross-cutting approach.

“Countries have based their economic growth on the exploitation of natural resources, and this has aggravated a situation that was not particularly promising. Environmental sustainability has not been integrated in economic policy,” she said.

The IGS is taking part in a study led by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on successful experiences in the green economy in developed and developing nations, set to be completed by the end of the year.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says green investment can contribute to reducing demand for energy and water while reducing the carbon footprint of production of goods and services, besides contributing to the fight against poverty and social inequality.

“We have to understand the conditions in the economy, and later which measures can be applied,” said UNEP representative in Mexico Dolores Barrientos. “First there has to be an analysis of the methods and priority sectors for moving towards a green economy.

“The main step forward is the recognition of failures in the economic system, which can eventually be overcome by means of better public policies, and that can include the main issues of the green economy,” she said.

“The future we want”, the outcome document adopted in June 2012 by Río +20 (the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development) in Rio de Janeiro, considers the green economy one of the most important instruments for achieving sustainability, which can offer alternatives when it comes to policy-making.

At the same time, it recognises different approaches, visions and models, based on the specific circumstances and national priorities.

Source: Emilio Godoy | IPS News