The concept of Green Economy is closely linked to other concepts such as Sustainable Consumption and Production and Resource Efficiency. The common objective is to reduce the resources used and the waste created in the production and consumption of goods and services. Sustainable Consumption and Production, Resource Efficiency and Green Economy are reflected in the 2030 Agenda’s Global Goals. The UN system is supporting several initiatives to achieve this, such as the Partnership Action for Green Economy (PAGE) programme, SWITCH Africa Green (SAG) project, and Operationalisation of Green Economy Transition in Africa.
Ghana recognises that its development drive has consequences for the environment. Government policies to ensure sound management of the environment and natural resources while pursuing economic growth has been reflected in the country’s revised Medium-Term National Development Policy Framework, the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda II (GSGDA II) and more recently in the 40-year development plan by the National Development Planning Commission. Consequently, government in collaboration with its development partners, private sector and civil society are implementing programmes and projects to green Ghana’s economy.
Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE)
The Rio+20 Declaration – The Future We Want – recognised a Green Economy as a vehicle for achieving sustainable development and poverty eradication. It called on the United Nations to support interested countries in developing greener and more inclusive economies.
In response to this call for action, the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) was initiated as a voluntary and demand-driven mechanism of support to meet the increasing requests from countries seeking to develop and implement green economy strategies.
The programme deploys the joint expertise of five UN agencies – ILO, UNDP, UNEP, UNIDO and UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research) – to progressively assist a total of 30 countries in their efforts to embark on green economy pathways. The collective endeavour ranges from mobilising social awareness and providing specialised training, to identifying critical bottlenecks, formulating and assessing policy options, and enabling policy implementation for greening the economy. The programme also includes global and regional level capacity development, knowledge creation and sharing, and high-level policy dialogues, all to enrich and strengthen country level assistance.
Following an official request by the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ghana was selected as a PAGE pilot country. The initiative was officially launched at a national workshop on 14 August 2014. Among the PAGE partners, UNDP takes on the role of convening agency of in Ghana. PAGE operates in a participatory process and endeavours to facilitate broad engagement with a variety of ministries, national institutions, academia, professional organisations and civil society.
SWITCH Africa Green Project
Ghana is already taking positive steps in the transition towards a green economy through a set of national policies, strategies and programmes and in line with the sustainable development objectives. The transition from linear economy to cycle economy calls for sustained political will and good governance, which could contribute to sustained growth in income and employment.
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with UNDP, UNOPS as well as regional and national partners, is implementing the SWITCH Africa Green Project with financial support from the European Commission.
The SWITCH Africa Green Project seeks to support Ghana, among five other African countries, its transition towards a more inclusive, sustainable, green economy. The initiative is based on sustainable consumption and production patterns, while generating growth, creating decent jobs and reducing poverty. The project is intended to support private sector-led inclusive growth to achieve its objective.
UNEP defines a green economy as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. It essentially involves a low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially-inclusive economy, which requires transformation of production and consumption lifestyles towards economic activities that enhance and preserve environmental quality, while using energy, water and natural resources more efficiently and reducing social inequalities.
At operational level, a green economy is characterised by growth in income and employment driven by investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution; enhanced energy and resource efficiency; prevention of loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services; and reduction of unemployment and poverty, especially among the poorest segments of society.
The project has three main components:
- Policy support, which builds on and scales up activities to strengthen institutions and appropriate tools and instruments;
- Green Business development to enable Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to start and develop resource efficient and green businesses based on sustainable production practices; and,
- Developing a networking facility to enable dissemination of lessons learned from the project.
So far, a national implementation document has been developed which analyses policy situation and gaps for supporting the transition to a green economy. A policy synthesis report is produced while efforts are being made to translate these into concrete policy actions, standards and other instruments.
In Ghana, SWITCH Africa Green has funded five national projects and an additional three multi-country projects in electronic waste, institutional biogas cook stoves, biogas promotion and industrial symbiosis.
The SWITCH Africa Green Networking Forum on “Supporting African Countries in the Transition towards an Inclusive Green Economy Based on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns” (Kampala, Uganda, May 2016) brought together over 150 policy makers, practitioners, grantees, MSMEs, donors and other stakeholders to share good practices and exchange on how to scale up practices. A similar event will be held in March 2017 at the national level.