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DESA Publishes Guidebook on Green Economy Policies, Experiences

December 2012: The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) has published a guidebook on the green economy, the third in a series, offering insights on governments' strategies for implementing a green economy and overcoming challenges related to financing, institutional arrangements, integration and political leadership.

The third Guidebook highlights increasing experience in implementing national sustainable development strategies (NSDS), but cautions that results have been mixed, and include both achievements and serious shortcomings.

The publication identifies several NSDS challenges, including: a lack of achievable targets and clear objectives; failure to engage central planning agencies and finance ministries in the strategic process; under-utilizing environmental fiscal reform and economic instruments; limited national ownership; and limited monitoring and evaluation. It states that emerging green economy, green growth and low-carbon strategies aim to more effectively integrate the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainable development and to learn from experience in implementing sustainable development strategies. It also notes that international agreements on biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development have helped to catalyze green economy development plans.

The Guidebook also highlights lessons learned for developing low-emission development strategies (LEDS) to promote climate change adaptation and mitigation while advancing development, including: developing LEDS based on high-quality data on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and socioeconomic indicators; building national capacity; raising awareness among senior government officials; integrating LEDS into mainstream national decision-making processes; and engaging sub-national governments and other stakeholders as early as possible. [Publication: A Guidebook to the Green Economy: Issue 3: Exploring Green Economy Policies and International Experience with National Strategies]