The concept of sustainable economy is becoming increasingly important for the Czech Republic. The country's impressive economic growth in the past two decades has brought with it great costs for the environment. Although there has been much improvement, the Czech Republic for example has one of the highest ratios of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of output in the OECD. Policy makers have been reassessing the basis of the economy in order to sustain development while responding to this challenge.
In 2010, the Czech government adopted the Strategic Framework for Sustainable Development. This strategy lays the broad foundation of sustainable objectives that the country aims to achieve in the long term. Under this plan, sustainability consists of effectively managing and using resources while tapping into the ecological and innovation potential on which economic prosperity, environmental protection and social cohesion rely. It addresses several sectors covered by the OECD’s work on green growth.
As the Czech Republic relies heavily on foreign gas and oil, the government aims to reform the energy sector, and achieve greater independence, through diversifying its energy sources. The plan states the importance of promoting green energy technologies, moving away from environmentally hazardous sources such as coal. An OECD working paper published in 2012 shows that energy security and public health benefits could far outweigh the potential costs associated with economic and social disruptions brought by such a shift.
In addition, the framework aims to engage cities and regions in the implementation of green policies. As there are still large disparities between regions and cities, both environmentally and economically, more effective land-use planning at the local level is being promoted to help bridge the gap. The conservation of biodiversity and climate change mitigation are also objectives of the Strategy.
By attaching an appropriate value to the services of ecosystems in the Czech Republic, the state aims to improve the effectiveness of its management and prevent over-exploitation. Floods pose the greatest risk due to climate change in the country. Under the Strategy, better flood control and monitoring systems will be an important measure in countering this threat.
OECD green growth indicators in the Czech Republic
In 2011 the Czech Statistical office released “Green Growth in the Czech Republic: Selected Indicators”. The Czech Republic used 27 of the 30 indicators proposed by the OECD in Towards Green Growth - Monitoring Progress: OECD Indicators.
The report concludes that there is an overall positive trend in the area of environmental and resource productivity, although the natural asset base is lagging behind. Of particular concern is the “coal extraction and reserves” indicator. From 1990 to 2010 the explored economic coal reserves in the Czech Republic diminished by 54%, and cumulative coal mining has increased exponentially.
However, the environmental quality of life has improved. Measures such as life expectancy at birth and water supply have increased. Economic opportunities and policy responses have lastly followed a general positive trend, although energy prices have gone up, potentially hindering economic growth. On education, since 1995, the attainment of upper secondary and tertiary education has drastically increased.
OECD work on green growth
Green growth and countries