Minister of State and Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Ali Babacan
Green Growth and Least Developed Countries: A dialogue with the High-level Panel on Global Sustainability
10 May 2011
President Ms. Halonen, Distinguished Guests, Ladies, Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to be with you today here in this important event which will allow us to exchange ideas.
As President Halonen briefly explained, the Panel is working to find the right balance between the economic, environmental and social pillars of sustainable development. Our ultimate aim is to create a prosperous and safe future for all. I believe that this Panel will produce an important political outcome and create momentum to this effect.
Our overarching objective must continue to be the eradication of poverty and improvement of the living conditions for all. We should ensure rapid and sustained growth with full respect to social and environmental concerns, including decent work and dignified life for all. Economic growth is necessary for creating jobs and reducing poverty, but does not necessarily generate per se equitable and sustainable outcomes. The sustainable use of natural resources is critical for poverty reduction.
The world population is heading to be 9 billion by year 2050. Each one of us will want access to energy, communication, transportation, consumer goods. Each one of us will require food, clean water, shelter, education, and health care. All of us would like to live well. We know that meeting these needs for all with our existing patterns of production and consumption is not realistic. On the other hand, going another route, the route of sustainability, will require a collaborative leadership involving business, government and civil society. Let me say a few words about the role of these actors and about some policies and initiatives that seem particularly relevant for sustainability in the context of least developed countries.
While the private sector plays a critical role in driving the economy towards more sustainability, governments at local and national levels are key to creating the circumstances that could make it happen. Here, public policies as well as institutional and legal frameworks are very important. Public policies define frameworks to guide and incentivize the governments, consumers and markets towards sustainability. These include sustainable public procurement, the establishment of full-cost pricing of goods and services; the promotion of research and development; the accessibility of science, technology, and innovation to all; the conditions for pro-poor sustainable development; and strengthened social protection and job creation systems that reinforce sustainability and increase resilience.
Micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises are pivotal drivers of growth, wealth creation and employment, creating 9 out of 10 jobs around the world. Small and medium size enterprises provide goods and services tailored to local needs and at costs affordable to local people. Small businesses constitute the core of activity in many sectors such as agriculture, where farms represent a large majority of producers and account for large numbers of employment.
Another tool, microfinance empowers the poor through small business loans, group lending structures, and safe institutions for saving money. It may serve as an integral component of sustainability strategies geared toward promoting SMEs and reducing the vulnerability of the poor to the impacts of poverty and climate change. It is necessary to scale up the microfinance industry- reaching poorer and remote people, especially in rural areas, and lowering costs to take better advantage of new technologies.
These are the few ideas that we have already discussed in our Panel and which are relevant to our discussion here today about green growth in the least developed countries and we look forward to hearing you at the end of this session.