23 October 2008

Defra hosts Green Economy launch of UNEP: building a green economy

Defra hosted the launch of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Green Economy Initiative yesterday, highlighting the huge opportunities available in the transition to a green economy, and the increasingly close relationship between environment and development.

In the current difficult economic background, the shift to a greener and more equitable economy has become more important than ever. UNEP's Initiative aims to accelerate this change by identifying and communicating policies which can decouple economic growth from environmental degradation and highlighting the huge opportunities available.

The event provided an opportunity to draw attention to Defra and the UK's proactive role on valuation of environmental resources (including the Stern Review and National Ecosystems Assessment) and supporting environmental industries as a driver of future economic growth (through our response to the Commission on Environmental Markets and Economic Performance (CEMEP).

Launching the event, Hilary Benn:"The green technological revolution needs to gather pace, as more and more of the worlds jobs will in future be in environmental industries.

Britain is committed to building a green economy at home and abroad: it will be good for business good for the environment and good for development.

"UNEP's initiative will help make this change; in particular by helping us to understand just how much we depend on the environment - soil, air, water and biodiversity - for our very existence."

Dubbed the 'New Green Deal', the event featured speeches from Defra's Hilary Benn and Bob Watson; Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director; and Pavan Sukhdev, a senior Deutsche Bank economist who is heading UNEP's Initiative alongside his work on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) – a Stern-style review on the value of ecosystem services which Defra is also supporting.

There was also a question and answer session with press and stakeholders.

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Source: Press release

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