Green economy fosters economic progress while ensuring environmental sustainability and social equity. The OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum, which concluded on 8 September, also recognized the value of green economy as part of the OSCE approach to security and cooperation in Europe.
In her keynote address at the opening of the Forum on 6 September, Ms. Olga Algayerova, UNECE Executive Secretary, emphasized that green economy “needs to be at the centre of efforts made by UN Member States to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs have been my priority since my first day at UNECE.”
Ms. Algayerova was presenting the key recommendations of a review of the implementation of OSCE commitments relevant to the environmental component of the theme of the Forum, “Greening the economy and building partnerships for security in the OSCE region”, elaborated under the guidance of UNECE.
First among the recommendations was that a specific OSCE Ministerial Council Decision be proposed on greening economies and fostering environmental cooperation in the OSCE region, with a view to integrating the topic into the broader work of OSCE. The Forum followed this recommendation in agreeing to draft a decision on greening the economies of the region and fostering environmental cooperation, complementing a further draft decision to promote economic participation, for consideration by the OSCE Ministerial Council in December 2017.
Another key recommendation was that countries need to establish institutional and policy frameworks to promote the transition to a green economy. UNECE can assist in this work in areas such as energy, transport, environment and forests.
Speaking also in the opening session, Ms. Marie Chatardová (Czechia), President of the UN Economic and Social Council, emphasized green economy as a priority of her presidency.
Mr. Jeffrey Sachs, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the SDGs, saw OSCE as being well placed to tackle some of the world’s critical challenges: economy, environment and security. He highlighted the need for action on energy transition or “decarbonisation”, food security – which is being undermined by climate change, and is the single most important trigger of insecurity – and resilience to disasters. He also pointed to public health, early warning systems and preparedness for disasters as specific areas in need of action.
UNECE and OSCE enjoy close cooperation. Ms. Algayerova particularly looked forward to continuing and strengthening the long-standing cooperation between UNECE and OSCE on a broad range of issues, noting that “there is a lot more we can do together”.