Smoothing the way towards a sustainable future through policies and strategies that promote green economies

This parallel session will focus on the following 3 themes:

  • Setting an overarching framework for policy reform (10 January, 12:00 – 13:00)
  • What role do small- and medium-sized enterprises play in promoting inclusion? (10 January, 15:30 – 16:30)
  • What policies can support economic empowerment of women and youth? (11 January, 12:00 – 13:00)

The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 reaffirmed the need to holistically address environmental, economic and social challenges to development in an integrated manner. Inclusive green economy is one of the main vehicles for achieving sustainable development.

In a national context, governments need to ensure that green economy policies gain traction and help accelerate progress on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. To do this, it is important to demonstrate the business case for inclusive green economy, i.e. how it leads to minimizing environmental degradation, increasing resilience, employment opportunities and durable growth. They also have to strengthen cross-ministerial and multi-stakeholder capacities needed to mitigate risks and address social and economic trade-offs within and across sectors and marginalized groups during a just and inclusive transition process.

Yet, setting up an overarching policy framework, which political, business and civil communities can align with presents a range of challenges.

Session 1 on “Setting an overarching framework for policy reform” will look at best practices and lessons learned in initiating national policy reform for an inclusive green economy, while also putting in place necessary planning strategies. The session will touch on the success factors and challenges for initiating effective national green economy policies and strategy from multiple dimensions, including: economic, social and political.

Session 2 on “Mainstreaming natural capital in policies and strategies” will bring to the table critical questions and brainstorm on practical solutions for mainstreaming natural capital in green economy policy-making globally. The objective is to discuss and share headway made by different nations in connecting natural capital and green economy. This sub-thematic discussion emphasizes that an inclusive ‘green economy’ should integrate issues around the use of natural capital into national and sectoral decision-making. It will detail government efforts in this area and highlight the multiple SD benefits that can be gained.

Session 3 on “Greening small- and medium-sized enterprises” will focus on tools for greening SMEs, reviewing ways to simultaneously target youth entrepreneurship and skill development. The session builds on experiences from South Africa and other countries. This session will cover 2 topics: 1) Energy and material efficiency in SMEs: opportunities and challenges and 2) A workplace cooperation approach to greening SMEs: lessons from the Sustainable Competitive and Responsible Enterprises Programme.

The objective of this session is to share experiences and strategies that have been undertaken to green SMEs in countries around the world.