In recent years, widespread uncertainty around global economic and environmental futures has contributed to growing advocacy for a global ‘greening’ of the economy involving the coordinated establishment of pro-environment economic policies and programmes around the world.
Following the dominant framings favoured by the United Nations (UN) and partners, the term ‘green economy’ refers to a flexible policy toolkit that includes recommendations for environmental regulations, market-based and financial instruments, and voluntary initiatives to promote capitalisation of pro-environment goods and services and stimulate green economic growth. Along these lines, a number of UN-affiliated international and regional intergovernmental organisations and development banks have developed their own complementary green growth strategies and frameworks that link up with the UN approach through a number of collaborations, agreements, mechanisms and partnerships.
In this report, the terms ‘green economy’ and ‘green growth’ are used at times to reference the same thing – to refer to the common dominant principles of these approaches, namely:
- Environmentally sustainable economic growth – the idea that economic growth and environmental integrity can be complementary and achievable goals within the appropriate market and regulatory contexts
- Socially inclusive green growth – the idea that green economic growth should be pro-poor and maximise both immediate and local benefits to reduce poverty and vulnerability and long-term global benefits towards sustainability
- Universality – the idea that transitions to green economies should be universal to realise a cumulative global transition towards sustainability
- Flexibility – there is no single green growth model; green economic strategies will vary by region and country based on context, capabilities, preferences and funding.