Peru has achieved significant economic growth in the ten years leading to 2014. However, this economic performance is considered unsustainable in the long term because it is based on intensive exploitation of natural resources and has given rise to discontent among part of the population that is not receiving the benefits of the “economic boom” the country is experiencing.
The current administration sees green economy as a tool that will guide the country towards sustainable development by reconciling economic development with greater social equity and wealth distribution, while improving efficiency in the use of natural resources. As a result, the Peruvian government requested support from a joint United Nations initiative that helps countries transition to a green economy.
In May, the world’s most powerful decision-making body on the environment will meet in Nairobi to discuss some of the most critical issues of our time. Under discussion at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) will be the sustainable management of natural capital. Encouraging countries to transition to a green economy will promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all – a key goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Created in 2012 during the United Nations’ Conference on Sustainable Development, the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) seeks to foster economic growth, create income and jobs, reduce poverty and inequality and strengthen the ecological foundations of national economies by placing sustainability at the heart of economic policymaking.
In late 2013, Peru became the second country to benefit from the PAGE initiative, which was set up by the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.
The overall objective of PAGE in Peru is to integrate the concept of green growth into development policies through the formulation and implementation of inclusive green economy public policy proposals that will promote the efficient use of resources, environmental quality and sustainability and green jobs creation in economic sectors.
Peru now receives support from the initiative in four ways: research and knowledge creation; policy dialogue with government officials and important stakeholders; capacity building, education and training; and advisory services on green economy issues.
In 2015, PAGE supported the country in developing a roadmap to a national Green Growth Strategy, drafting a complementary Green Jobs Strategy and operationalizing it through the greening of regional youth employment plans with the objective to provide young people with job opportunities that match future economic trends.
By integrating the concept of green growth into development policies countries can promote the efficient and environmentally sound use of resources while boosting green jobs. PAGE will also help Peru, which is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, implement its bio-trade strategy.
A study conducted by UNEP showed that increasing annual biotrade in Peru by 40 per cent until 2020 would increase sales from $110 million in 2009 to $2.7 billion by 2020, creating 250,000 new jobs over the next decade and raising carbon sequestration revenues from $154m to $750m.
The study highlights how applying a green economy to the development of biotrade in Peru will not only benefit the economy but also improve human well-being, enhance social equity and protect the environment.
PAGE support in Peru also aims to create stronger synergies and links with the work of other initiatives in the country, such as the United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) to transform the forest sector so that it contributes to human wellbeing and combats the impacts of climate change.
Peru has 73.3 million hectares of forests, which equates to 60% of the Peruvian territory. Although at 0.2% its annual deforestation rate is relatively low, deforestation is the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, and the main concern is the lack of a rational use of this resource. PAGE is undertaking modelling of policies to expand the area of sustainably managed forests, expand reforestation and improve the added value of wood exports.
In the agricultural and transport sectors, PAGE is supporting Peru through the modelling of policies to expand irrigation to small and medium farmers, as well as make resilient seeds available. To improve transportation and reduce emissions, PAGE is also supporting the modelling of policies to increase fuel efficiency, replace highly polluting public transport and increase mass transport.
Hailing the launch of the PAGE Peru initiative, the country’s minister of labour and employment promotion, Ana Ethel del Rosario, said: "Peru has enjoyed high economic growth but existing environmental threats can reverse these achievements. A means to avoid these threats from becoming even more prominent is the use of clean energy with employment promotion, allowing for a structural change in labour and in production.”
In May, hundreds of key decision makers, businesses and representatives of intergovernmental organizations and civil society will gather in Nairobi for UNEA-2 at the United Nations Environment Programme headquarters in Nairobi.
The assembly will be one of the first major meetings since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement. The resolutions passed at UNEA-2 will set the stage for early action on implementing the 2030 Agenda, and drive the world towards a better, more just future.