PAGE Conference Recommends Policy Actions for Inclusive, Sustainable Economies
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The third PAGE Ministerial Conference adopted an outcome document that stresses the need to shift from linear economic models of production, consumption and investment towards circular economies.

In advance of the Conference, the Green Economy Coalition Global Meeting held policy sessions on finance, informal businesses and SMEs, inclusion and natural capital.

January 2019: The UN Partnership for Action on Green Economy’s (PAGE) 2019 Ministerial Conference resulted in a document outlining key policy methods to support countries towards inclusive and sustainable economies, and achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Participants at the Green Economy Coalition’s (GEC) Global Meeting that convened before the Ministerial Conference also made recommendations on inclusion and natural capital.

The third PAGE Ministerial Conference convened from 10-11 January 2019, in Cape Town, South Africa. More than 500 participants from government, the private sector and civil society from over 50 countries attended the Conference, which featured a series of events on the green economy.

The Conference’s outcome document titled, ‘Cape Town Action Pathways Towards 2030,’ stressed the need to shift from linear economic models of production, consumption and investment towards circular economies, and underscored the importance of strengthened partnerships and multilateralism in reinvigorating and transforming economies and societies. To achieve the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change, the document recommends anchoring green strategies and policies in long-term development frameworks, with a focus on economic, social and political inclusion to ensure no one is left behind. The document argues that making finance “fit for purpose” will require transforming financial systems into real drivers of sustainability and social inclusion to achieve the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.

The outcome document also addresses the future of work in a changing climate, calling for reorganizing economies towards greater resilience, sustainability and resource efficiency. The document states that prevention and mitigation of climate change, “beyond any other single element,” will define the future of work. It calls on developing capacities to anticipate climate impacts and harness and develop appropriate responses for the world of work.

The outcome document proposes next steps to support countries in pursuing inclusive and sustainable economies, including integrating the action pathways into PAGE programming and promote them in global fora, such as the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and other UN conferences. Additional next steps focus on strengthening South-South cooperation and expanding and scaling up the PAGE programme beyond its current horizon of 2020-2030.

In advance of the Conference, the Green Economy Coalition’s (GEC) Global Meeting took place from 8-9 January. The GEC launched seven ‘Green Economy National Barometers’ and held policy sessions on finance, informal businesses and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), inclusion and natural capital. The GEC, the Green Growth Knowledge Platform and CNBC organized a debate on the question, ‘What makes your country wealthy?’ that featured participants from business and the development and environment fields sharing their thoughts on measuring wealth.

GEC participants made policy recommendations on how to achieve equitable, inclusive and people-focused economies. On inclusion, participants underscored the importance of addressing process, recognizing that inclusive processes are critical to achieving inclusive outcomes. They identified the new PAGE expansion round as an opportunity to “embed inclusivity early,” and emphasized the importance of shared partnerships between government and civil society to deliver meaningful participation in policy design. Participants also called for judging policies by whether they “measurably advance the SDGs,” particularly poverty and inequality reduction, and for decentralized, multi-actor delivery and implementation.

On natural capital and green economy strategies, GEC participants recognized that natural capital approaches can provide a common, accepted internal approach to integrate environmental and economic decision-making and link with the SDGs. They identified assessing and uncovering dependency on the natural world as key in clarifying returns on investments from natural asset stocks and protecting environmental, economic and social benefits and creating paths to inclusivity. Participants suggested natural capital accounting focused on solving specific challenges, such as water in South Africa, can be “the how” of green economy implementation and help ensure the use, improvement and scaling up of natural accounts. [PAGE Press Release on Conference] [PAGE Press Release on Outcome Document] [Outcome Document] [PAGE Press Release on Debate] [GEC Policy Recommendations] [GEC Meeting Website]

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