World Economic and Social Survey 2009

Promoting Development, Saving the Planet

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The separation in practice of climate change and development agendas has distorted the global debate on the two biggest policy challenges facing the international community. According to the Survey, an integrated approach based on the concept of sustainable development is urgently needed. It argues that mitigation and adaptation can move forward effectively only if they are part of a consistent development strategy built around a massive investment-led transformation along low-emissions, high-growth paths. The Survey also contends that a critical role must be played by developmental States able to mobilize public finance and build appropriate technological capacity.

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Financing the development response to climate change

There is no way round the need for large-scale investments to meet the climate challenge, in both developed and developing countries. Developed countries have begun to make the required adjustments focusing, in particular, on energy efficiency. However, and despite their expressions of concern and commitment, the pace has been slow. In 2008 and 2009, the inclusion of green investments in stimulus packages in response to the global financial crisis has raised expectations that a more sustained effort is now under way in those countries. Still, their policymakers need to think on a much larger scale when it comes to emission cuts.

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