Well-managed sustainable energy provides job creation, economic growth in developing world – UNCTAD

Speakers at a United Nations meeting in Geneva say change to sustainable energy, if well managed, can provide great opportunities for job creation, economic growth in the developing world.

According to the high-level officials, raising living standards in poor countries can and should be done at the same time as the world shifts to “green” energy use, and such a feat is possible if global efforts are well-designed and implemented.

The meeting, co-organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the EnergyPact Foundation, a Swiss-based organization focused on balanced use of energy and on what it terms “energy-environment-development issues.”

In opening a debate on the topic of “How emerging economies will green the world”, UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi, according to a statement told the meeting that “Green growth should be inclusive. The shift to renewable and sustainable energy provides a great opportunity in the developing world to “stimulate economic diversification, generate employment for the poor, and increase access of the poor to basic services such as energy, water, housing, education, communications, electricity, and transport.”

“It is hoped that a greening economy will continue to promote a race to the top for environmental performance rather than a race to the bottom, which was feared would arise from competitive cost reductions in a globalized economy,” he said.

According to the UNCTAD statement, the meeting stressed that technological advances allowing affordable renewable energy use must be shared with developing nations and that such nations’ exports, economic growth, and industrialization must not, and do not have to be, hindered by future environmentally based restrictions on energy use – so-called “green protectionism.”

The speakers said that limiting damage from climate change in any case requires a seamless approach to applying renewable energy technology – all nations must participate, as the effects of climate shifts apply across borders.

Cherif Rahmani, Minister for the Environment and Land Planning of Algeria and also chief of the African Group of negotiators on climate-change issues, according to the UNCTAD, promised that Africa will take a unified, active approach to renewable energy use and to combating climate change.

Globally, efforts to these ends must respect the development aspirations of Africans and other poor regions of the world, he said.

Alexandre Dimitrijevic, President of EnergyPact Foundation, told the meeting that “emerging powers” are among the world’s greatest producers of both renewable-energy goods and fossil-fuel emissions, and obviously are vital for halting climate change and establishing a global economy based on sustainable energy use.

By Ekow Quandzie

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