Delivering growth in an environmentally sustainable and equitable way is at the heart of today’s development challenge
Natural resources are the foundation of many developing countries’ economies and a source of livelihood for millions of people. But the sustainability and productivity of these resources – water, energy, land, forests, geo and biodiversity – are threatened by rising demand associated with population and income growth, as well as by climate change. Sustainable development means transitioning to an economy that better appreciates the contributions of natural capital to welfare and economic growth, while avoiding lock-in to unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. This calls for growth that creates new opportunities, greener jobs and practical ways for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable populations to adapt to change, including climate change, in ways that improve efficiency in the use of natural resources, protect ecosystems and avoid irreversible damage to the environment.
This is arguably the greatest development challenge that we face today. The core issue comes down to whether we can develop an economy that generates jobs, food security and rising living standards without exceeding ecological boundaries, domestic and global. Without serious consideration as to green pathways of growth, threats to sustainability and productivity of resources could undermine all efforts to reduce poverty.
ODI’s work on green growth integrates our existing expertise on climate change, growth, trade and private-sector development, as well as sectoral expertise (e.g. water, energy, mining and agriculture), to analyse various dimensions of this challenging new agenda. We aim to provide evidence about what works and what does not in support of inclusive green growth and sustainable development, to communicate this to decision-makers and provide practical policy recommendations.
Our work addresses such questions as whether green growth is a real alternative to conventional growth for national policy. What does economic growth which uses natural resources in a sustainable, equitable manner look like on the ground? What do we know about what works, and what does not, in support of green growth? What opportunities and risks does green growth present for developing countries? How will we know whether growth is green, or green enough? How can the private sector be incentivised to undertake green investment and innovation? How can public finance best be combined with private sector action to contribute to green growth? Will green growth be embedded in the post-2015 development agenda?