Integrated Assessment and Policymaking for a Green Economy, Launch and Panel Discussion

Geneva, 16 November 2009

On 16 November 2009, UNEP addressed Permanent Missions to the United Nations and other Geneva based groups under the theme “Integrated Assessment and Policymaking for a Green Economy”. In this half-day briefing, UNEP launched two new publications and at the same time provided a short update on recent developments of the Green Economy Initiative. Presentations of the documents followed by a panel discussion on the contribution that integrated assessment and policymaking can make in moving towards a green economy. The panel included chapter coordination authors of the Green Economy Report as well as experts that have contributed to the development of the two publications.

A video speech by the Executive Director of UNEP, providing the key note address, was scheduled after the welcome remarks and before the presentation of the two publications.

The publications launched at the event are the following:

Both publications are building on extensive experience in supporting countries from different regions in conducing policy assessments and a consultative process on common challenges, best practice and methodologies with other international and national organisations working in the area of sustainability-motivated policy assessments (including UNDP, World Bank, UNECE, OECD, Millennium Institute and a number of national universities in developed and developing countries).

Most of the problems facing the world today – from the financial crisis to climate change – have their root in short sighted actions and the failure to consider system-wide implications of policies. By tackling one specific problem, policies may not capture other opportunities or even have adverse impacts on the situation in another sector. Examples of this are numerous, including the more than US$200 billion annual subsidy for the production and consumption of fossil fuels perpetuating the efficient use of energy, but also recent measures included in stimulus packages, such as car scrapping schemes.

Against this background: The integrated assessment approach suggested in the Guidance Manual on Integrated Assessment: Mainstreaming Sustainability into Policymaking aims to bring scientific rigour to often complex decision making processes. It provides comprehensive but easy-to-use guidance and a broad menu of methodologies to assist policy analysts, policy advisers and policy makers in applying a systems-lens to their choices, objectives and goals.

The complementing Reference Manual on Integrated Policymaking for Sustainable Development places sustainability considerations and policy assessment within the overall policy-making cycle by suggesting sustainable development as the major filter for prioritizing competing issues and formulating and deciding on policy choices. The suggested approach to policy making is not only useful for policymakers and analysts in the environmental arena but also in the economic and social spheres and will be crucial for achieving a more intelligent, creative and sustainable management of economic development.

By leading the way towards the adaptive governance and creative policy making needed in the current economic crisis the two documents provide powerful tools for assisting countries transition to a resource efficient, low carbon, job-generating and poverty-cutting Green Economy.