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The roots of green growth in the mediterranean region

by Dr. Christian Averous, environmental economist

The roots of green growth in the mediterranean region
Promoting green growth in the Mediterranean region in support of sustainable development and poverty reduction, is a major challenge nowadays. Facing this challenge is not only necessary, but also efficient and achievable. Economic efficiency and job creation are at the heart of green growth

The five roots of green growth are just economic common sense , particularly concerning natural resource management. These roots are:

1) making the most of opportunities of green projects (e.g. with resource efficiency, energy saving, renewable energies, water services, biodiversity protection) and of job creation (e.g. strengthening the role of SMEs, promoting inclusive growth for the young and the poor)

2) adapting governance and framework conditions (e.g. promoting green technology and innovation, revising legislative, regulatory, fiscal and information frameworks)

3) improving market mechanisms (e.g. increasing the use of green fiscal and economic instruments, reducing environmentally harmful subsidies)

4) developing public financing and opportunities for private institutional investors

5) ensuring good knowledge of the green economy (e.g. indicators, peer reviews, capacity building). For instance, annual fossil fuel (i.e. oil, coal, gas) subsidies reach close to USD 500 billion worldwide, USD 165 billion in Arab countries, and between 3% and 6% of GDP in countries such as Egypt, Morocco or Tunisia : reducing these subsidies, with due attention to social issues, is economically efficient and environmentally effective.

Recommendations drawn from the international and national experience

Promoting green growth in the Mediterranean region (whether south, north, or east) is part of response to worldwide concerns with economic growth (e.g. G8, G20) and with green growth (e.g. OECD, UNEP, World Bank, RIO+20 Summit, Ocemo, and national experiences since 2008).

The Mediterranean region (including the Sea and its 22 riparian countries) has of course its own characteristics. For instance, while the region represents 6.9% of world population and 11.5% of world production, its Sea witnesses 30% of world maritime traffic and its riparian countries welcome 30% of world international tourists.

Regional studies on green growth (e.g. AFED, PLAN BLEU, UN-ESCWA, World Bank), some of them associated to the Barcelona Convention, better take into account the specificities of the Mediterranean region. In this context, 36 ‘Marseille Recommendations for a green economy in the Mediterranean region’* were just produced and adopted by a Working Group, made of experts from civil society of a large number of Mediterranean countries.

*link with the website of the Marseille Conference ‘Shifting to a Green Economy in the Mediterranean region: Environment as an Opportunity for Job Creation and Growth’ (under documentation)

version en français

Mardi 22 Mai 2012

Dr. Christian Averous

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