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Bhutan, UNDP-UNEP Hold Workshops on Green and Inclusive Development in Asia-Pacific

9 August 2012: Bhutan hosted participants from eight Asia-Pacific countries in two high-level workshops addressing green and inclusive economics and development. In the keynote address, Bhutan's Minister of Labor and Human Resources, Lyonpo Dorji Wangdi, highlighted environmental resources as a critical asset for economic development and poverty reduction in developing countries.

The workshops, titled “The PEI Regional Workshop on Making an Impact for a Greener, Inclusive Economy” and “Environmental Economics for Greening Development," convened from 9-11 August 2012, and were jointly organized by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) under their joint Poverty Environment Initiative (PEI), and the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE). PEI is a global UN-led Programme working in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and Europe that supports country efforts to achieve a greener and more inclusive development path. The workshop marked the end of PEI's Phase 1, and countries are moving now to a stage of implementation and capacity building.

Participants included senior policy makers from the governments of Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar/Burma, the Philippines and Thailand, and three UN agencies: UNDP, UNEP, and the UN Capital Development Fund.

Workshop participants noted that they face common challenges in the areas of capacity development, effective coordination among government agencies, budgetary constraints and innovative funding mechanisms. Dechen Tsering, UNEP Regional Office for Asia Pacific, highlighted that PEI seeks to place humans at the heart of sustainable development.

In a press release on the workshops, UNDP highlights the role of local governments in sustainable development and climate adaptation, linked to their core functions of intrastructure provision and service delivery. It also notes the need for engagement with local politicians, as well as provision of extra funds to cover the additional costs of responding to climate change. It recommends that Ministries of Finance, Planning and Local Government take the lead in “macro-level coordination” in greening development plans and budgets, with the Ministry of Environment providing technical expertise. UNDP also calls for proceeds from natural resource extraction in the mining, hydropower and plantation sectors in Asia to be shared with local people and invested at the national level for poverty reduction, based on public consultation and transparency in decision making. [UNDP Press Release] [UNDP Bhutan Press Release] [SANDEE Website]