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On Planning for Development: The green economy----------------Editor: Róbinson Rojas Sandford
From UNRISD Research and Policy Brief 12 - May 2012

Social Dimensions of Green Economy

Economic, technological and institutional changes that currently form the basis of green economy strategies run the risk of reinforcing human insecurity and inequalities. A growing body of evidence points to diverse social consequences, and suggests key elements of alternative approaches that can promote the combined social, economic and environmental goals of sustainable development.

In the wake of the triple crises of recent years (food, energy and finance) and in lead up to the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the concept of green economy has taken centre stage in international development circles. Coined to draw attention to the lack of integration of environmental concerns in economic policy since the Earth Summit in 1992, both the concept itself, and strategies to promote a green economy, are highly contested. There is considerable consensus on the need to shift from high- to low-carbon systems and transform patterns of investment, production and consumption in ways that are conducive to sustainable development. But varying paths to green economy exist. Each implies different costs and benefits for different social groups, countries and regions, as well as different roles and responsibilities for state, market and community actors and institutions.

Read also From Green Economy to Green Society. Bringing the Social to Rio+20

From United Nations Environment Programme - 2011

Towards a green economy -
Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication
- A Synthesis for Policy Makers

The last two years have seen the idea of a “green economy” float out of its specialist moorings in environmental economics and into the mainstream of policy discourse. It is found increasingly in the words of heads of state and finance ministers, in the text of G20 communiqués, and discussed in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.
This recent traction for a green economy concept has no doubt been aided by widespread disillusionment with our prevailing economic paradigm, a sense of fatigue emanating from the many concurrent crises and market failures experienced during the very first decade of the new millennium, including especially the financial and economic crisis of 2008. But at the same time, we have seen increasing evidence of a way forward, a new economic paradigm – one in which material wealth is not delivered perforce at the expense of growing environmental risks, ecological scarcities and social disparities.

The Transition to a Green Economy: Benefits, Challenges and Risks from a Sustainable Development Perspective - 2012
Report by a Panel of Experts
Second Preparatory Committe Meeting for
United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development
Prepared under the direction of: Division for Sustainable Development, UN-DESA
United Nations Environment Programme
UN Conference on Trade and Development

From Economic Development in Africa Report 2012


There are important differences among economists, and also between economists and ecologists, regarding the relationship between economic growth and the environment, the meaning of sustainability, and the policies necessary to make growth consistent with environmental sustainability. Against this backdrop, this chapter examines some conceptual issues critical to understanding different approaches.
The chapter is organized in four parts. Section A summarizes some fundamental differences among scholars on what sustainability is, how it could be achieved, and the policies deemed necessary to make growth consistent with environmental sustainability. In this context, section B identifies some conceptual issues related to the notions of the green economy and green growth. A particular challenge is to operationalize the idea of a green economy in a development context. Section C builds on one of the approaches of section A to discuss how resource use and environmental impacts change during the course of economic development. This shows that for countries at low levels of development, there will necessarily be a trade-off between structural transformation, on the one hand, and environmental sustainability, on the other hand. Section D introduces the concept of sustainable structural transformation (SST) as an appropriate strategy for managing that tradeoff and introducing a development-led approach to the green economy.

A. The relationship between the economy and the environment: alternative views
B. Conceptual issues concerning the green economy and green growth
C. The dynamics of development, resource use and environmental impacts
D. The concept of sustainable structural transformation

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