The event opened with the official launch of the 2018 PAGE Annual Report, showcasing progress and achievements made by the eighteen countries in their pathways to sustainability under PAGE, as well as the Partnership impact at the global level.
India is a new member of PAGE and the biggest member country now. Rahul Chhabra, High Commissioner for India, pointed out that India is leading in many environmental initiatives, particularly in the field of agro-ecology and transforming the practices and lives of over 500 000 farmers. As India has one of the highest resource extraction rates in the world, and with an expected GDP growth rate of 6% in the coming years, he asked the question of how can we make better use of our resources? and that Life cycle approach and circular economy will be key to strengthening resource security.
Mr. Arvind Nautiyal, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Environment of India, said that “natural resources are the backbone of economic development, India is no exception, and we need to transform systems such that natural resource security is ensured in the long term, especially in light of the consumption-heavy pattern of India- there is scope for large improvements in resource productivity.”
As underlined by Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary of Environment for Germany, “transforming economies from brown to green globally, requires more than just ‘money’, and it’s about changing the logic around markets in general”. In this process, he added “collaboration is key; without this we will have no chance at achieving the SDGs.” Finally, he referred to PAGE as a potential platform that can effectively help with ‘leapfrogging’ and developing industries around renewable energy.
Satya Tripathi, Assistant Secretary General and Director of UN Environment, commending Germany great support through PAGE, called the Partnership as one of the most innovative and promising UN partnerships available to help countries reach the 2030 agenda.
On the role of private sector, Antoine Sire, from BNP Paribas Group, called for systemic change in agricultural systems, noting that state and federal government can’t act alone. “Private sector can help, can channel private money but keep in mind ‘people don’t want to trade off their pension.” He noted that investors need to be combined with government, NGOs and good frameworks, allowing everybody on board, a new way of doing blended finance” he said, “there is huge and increasing pressure among investors to have this and I believe this can be upscaled to leverage funds for public goods.”
High Commissioner Koleka Mqulwana from S. Africa noted that there were over 500 participants from over 50 countries, at the ministerial PAGE conference on 10th -11th Jan 2019 in Cape Town. She stated that a fundamental shift from consumption and growth to circular economy needs financial and economic transitions. “Social inclusion is absolutely paramount, ‘no-one can be left behind’ and that work is fundamental to human dignity, so we need to concentrate on providing and improving livelihoods and work opportunities” she said, “we can and will expand and scale up the PAGE partnership beyond 2020”.
The Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) was conceived in 2012 as a response to the call to action following the Rio +20 Sustainable Development Conference in Brazil. It was then formally established in 2013.
PAGE informs, inspires and enables countries to transform their economies to inclusive green economies; that is, economies that eradicate poverty, increase jobs and social equity and strengthen livelihoods while protecting the environment.
Working at the national and sectoral level, PAGE is a collaborative partnership between five United Nations agencies as well as the national governments in PAGE countries.
The PAGE programme works to build capacity within partner countries so they are able to provide an enabling environment to meet their sustainability commitments, particularly the Sustainable Development Goals, through inclusive green economy approaches.
PAGE provides technical and financial assistance in 18 countries as of 2018.