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Dear Friends, let's promote a Green and Social Recovery

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I wanted to react to several very powerful pieces - each accompanied by concrete proposals - which we have just read on our blog about how to manage the present crisis. Achim Steiner demonstrated that a Green New Deal was not an additional response to the crisis but that it should lie at the heart of whatever strategies are selected to combat it. Kemal Dervis also appealed for us not to relax our efforts in fighting climate change but, on the contrary, to seize the opportunity of the stimulus packages to strengthen our actions in that field. Moreover, Minouche Shafik reminded us that the dramatic impact the present economic downturn will undoubtedly have on the very poor required enhanced social protection measures. By the way, may I take this opportunity to welcome Minouche to our small community of bloggers! Finally, using the WFP as an example, Josette Sheeran has targeted a fundamental issue: that of the demand for the goods of developing countries.

In fact, these four posts complement each other, but if they are to coexist we must go further. In fact, I am convinced that the recovery plan the world economy so greatly needs must be both green and shared by everyone: every step the international community has to take in the coming months will have to deal with all these aspects simultaneously, and for reasons that are only marginally ethical.

The recovery will have to be global. For, in fact, without rapid action, the increase in poverty will be dramatic, massive, and lasting.

Donor countries might be tempted to put this international solidarity agenda on the back burner as they themselves suffer the impact of the present downturn. So we have a duty to educate our fellow citizens as regards the need for a global recovery. Numbers such as the forecasts for growth in 2009 speak for themselves. Indeed, the only countries where growth, however weak, will continue are the emerging and developing countries. Thus the IMF is predicting global growth of 0.5% in 2009: -2% in developed countries and +3.3% in emerging and developing countries. It is therefore imperative for the whole world that these engines of growth keep running: maintaining growth in developing countries is a condition of recovery in the developed world.

That is why it is essential for bilateral and multilateral financing institutions to build on the considerable strength of their balance sheet and mobilize their powerful capital base to take the place of failing markets. But, in order to work effectively, the strategic framework and the rules of the game in which they operate must be focused on the essential. That is the challenge of the work being carried out within the G20 and I hope this will have rapid results. Now is also an opportune moment for supporting the demand made on developing countries: allowing the markets to function and therefore maintaining opportunities for investment is the most useful action and the one with the most immediate effect. The kinds of actions done by the WFP must therefore spread. Securing the demand made on developing countries - especially in agriculture - through medium term contracts is a very effective instrument for promoting supply. Above all, at the moment it would be extremely counter productive if the OECD countries were to close their boundaries or argue against investment in developing countries: by encouraging exports, the latter can in fact contribute effectively to lowering prices on the markets of industrialized countries.

This global recovery will also have to be green. At a time when all the environmental indicators are red, all the important gatherings on sustainable development this year - the most important of which is Copenhagen in December - will remind us that every action must now be considered in conjunction with the climate challenge. It will also have to take account of the new paradigm that all natural resources are scarce. The UNEP is working on this issue of a "Green New Deal" at the moment. But the stimulus packages will include a great deal of investment in infrastructures, and energy will have to be at the heart of it. Will we then be able to make good choices - choices leading to access to energy, energy efficiency and the promotion of renewable energies? The cyclical drop in energy prices must not make us "miss the bus" on the issue of energy adaptation. Access to energy for the greatest number will also have to be part of our priorities. Therefore why not make energy the 9th Millennium Development Goal? We could, for example, aim to double global access to energy by 2015 through renewables, while improving the energy efficiency of growth by 100%.

Our world needs great new challenges that link the fate of the North and the South. The one that we face today fulfills this aim and can be the engine of a new technological revolution: Several industrialized countries are now betting on a green recovery of their own accord - apparent in a degree of "greening" of their plans. Barack Obama has used the "Repower America" program drawn up by Al Gore as an inspiration to propose a new energy model. In France, some of the investments envisaged by the recovery plan seek to anticipate the measures of the Grenelle de l'Environnement.

Finally, the recovery will have to be shared. Faced with the growing inequalities created by the crisis in the poorest countries, we must be ever vigilant. There is an urgent need to consider how to manage the social consequences of the crisis and how developing societies will adapt to these upheavals. Firstly, because the effectiveness of all the recovery plans is at stake. As we learned, for example, from the work carried out at the beginning of the 2000s with the World Bank on pro-poor growth, to which the AFD contributed a great deal, the effectiveness and soundness of economic growth are increased by the reduction in inequality. This is true locally but globally as well: a better spread of wealth makes the world globally more prosperous.

Redistribution mechanisms will therefore have to be established for the most vulnerable countries. Bob Zoellick's idea of earmarking 0.7% of the US stimulus package for a vulnerability fund for developing countries goes in that direction.

We will also have to find "social transmission belts" for protecting the most underprivileged. Our role as developers includes strengthening those sectors that most directly affect the consequences of the crisis. In particular, this is why we will have to push the food agenda up the ladder of our concerns. Maintaining our support for the farmers of the South and taking part in constructing the future of food must be at the core of our recovery efforts.

The same applies to sectors enabling social services to be provided to the greatest number and especially those who must be protected from the immediate effects of the degradation in their socioeconomic circumstances, particularly through the provision of microfinance and health services.

Of course, every country must receive sectorial support according to its needs. But it is possible to identify a few key generic areas that could alleviate the effects of the crisis.

This year we have to determine the measures that will yield concrete, short term results. But we must also keep in mind our concern for building the future. In facing up to this crisis, we must think of the impact of our actions in the short and the long term simultaneously because the time needed to respond to the present disturbances does not necessarily match that required for the management of large structural problems (such as energy or agriculture). Our task is to effectively merge this triple agenda of an economic recovery that is global, green, and shared by us all.

Source: www.ideas4development.org

Comments  

 
# Kristen B. 2011-10-13 22:08
I hope that the Green New Deal will be successful since it is nice idea to promote green and social recovery as well as fighting global climate change, People should also be informed on how will they recycle and other waste management ideas so that they could also develop green and environmental-friendly habits.

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# kim tegio 2012-06-28 11:43
good !
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