Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Hiroyuki Konuma

FAO Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific

FAO initiatives for Green Economy Initiative (GEI)
Green opportunities:
how to address challenges and eliminate barriers?

     

       The UNEP led Green Economy Initiative aims to address the interdependence of human economies and natural ecosystem by fostering investment and policies in the field of clean technologies, renewable energy, waste management, low carbon transport, energy efficient buildings, improved fresh water provision, sustainable agriculture and forest management and sustainable fisheries.

      Green economy may be a means to achieve sustainable development through assisting in the implementation of policies that provide incentives to production, consumption and resilient economic development, protect and use environmental resources sustainably, and promote social well-being.

      FAO’s Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) Initiative is a multi-stakeholder umbrella framework that engages civil society, governments and intergovernmental organizations in a joint effort to make rapid progress toward achievement of the Agenda 21 vision. Ensuring adequate food and water to all and achieving sustainable rural development and livelihoods for current and future generations all hinge upon the responsible management of natural resources.

      For example, employment generation through upstream forestry activities directly contributes to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Similarly, support to community institutions for improved governance of forests and open pasture lands to enhance livelihood opportunities for poor livestock producers helps to reduce the ecological burden of agricultural production while at the same time contributing to poverty reduction and better livelihood opportunities. Investment in technologies that enhance the efficiency of animal feed utilization or the interventions that aim at better fuel management resulting in reduced incidence of carbon emissions have similar impacts.

      The growth of bioenergy as a source of transport fuel, electricity and heat presents opportunities, albeit with significant trade-offs, for the sustainable use of natural resources and for SARD at the local, national and global scales. Agriculture has a dual role as an energy user and as an energy supplier (consumption and production) in the form of bioenergy. This energy function of agriculture offers important rural development opportunities as well as means of climate change mitigation by substituting bioenergy for fossil fuels. 

      Rebuilding the natural resource base and reducing competition for these resources between food, feed and fuel is at the core of FAO’s approach towards building a “green economy”. FAO is committed to interventions that a) increase productivity and efficiency rather than expansion, b) reduce waste and recycling, and c) promote greener lifestyle and awareness. Within the context of FAO’s mandate this requires greater attention to sustainable agriculture, forest and fisheries development since they are a part of natural resource based industry which is a significant contributor to food security and environmental sustainability.