Green growth and sustainable development

Green growth, agriculture and fisheries


Many countries aim to reduce the environmental footprint of agriculture while feeding a growing and richer global population. Agriculture has a role to play in contributing to greener growth, in particular through improving the efficiency of resource use, reducing environmental impact, focusing on the ecosystem, and encouraging R&D and technologies to improve resource use productivity. OECD work on rebuilding fisheries looks at ways to enable this sector to recover growth while reducing the environmental impact.


Green growth was identified as one of the priorities by Agriculture Ministers at their meeting in 2010 ( Ministers asked the OECD to identify policy options and market approaches that would encourage “green growth,” including mitigation of the food and agriculture system’s contribution to climate change, as well as adaptation to its impacts.


For agriculture, this means

  • ensuring that enough food is provided for an increasing global population while reducing the carbon intensity of the agricultural sector;
  • sustainably managing scarce natural resources – especially land, water and biodiversity – and reducing adverse environmental impacts; and
  • enhancing the provision of agriculture-related environmental benefits such as carbon sequestration, flood and drought control, biodiversity and other ecosystem services.

Current OECD work




The focus of OECD work is to identify policies which will help the agricultural sector to meet green growth objectives while ensuring increased food supplies. 

A sectoral study on agriculture and green growth has been prepared:  A Green Growth Strategy for Food and Agriculture. The study focuses on the ways in which the agriculture sector can contribute to green growth, and on the role of different policies in helping or hindering that contribution. This includes:

  • Analysis of the trade-offs and synergies between economic welfare (“growth”) and environmental performance (“green”), within the agricultural sector and in the wider context;
  • The relationship between different agricultural, agri-environmental and environmental policy measures – and the support involved – and green growth in agriculture;
  • The possible contribution of different farming systems (for example, conventional/organic; intensive/extensive; large/small enterprises), technologies and innovations to green growth; and
  • The linkages between biomass production (bio fuels, bio energy and bio-materials), food and feed production, and green growth in agriculture.
    This study would also draw on existing and ongoing work, including that on mitigation and adaption of agriculture to climate change; the sustainable management of water; risk management; biofuels; guidelines for cost-effective agri-environmental policies; payments for ecosystem services; and policy targeting.



Pressure to take strong policy action to rebuild depleted fisheries has been increasing over the past two decades. At the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, governments around the world committed to the goal of rebuilding fish stocks. The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation requires countries to maintain or restore stocks to levels to produce the maximum sustainable yield with the aim of achieving these goals, not later than 2015.

The OECD study “The Economics of Rebuilding Fisheries” will focus on the political economy of reform in rebuilding fisheries, including not only healthy and productive fish stocks but also a prosperous fishing industry and communities, with least harm to the environment. It will provide practical and evidence-based advice for policy makers to ensure that fisheries rebuilding programmes succeed and have an economically and environmentally positive contribution over the longer term. The key messages include the need to reform production-distorting subsidies, implement policies to facilitate good fisheries management, and strive towards an internationally coordinated approach to deal with the challenges of the “global fisheries and marine commons”.



  • 19 September 2011: Launch of "Agricultural Policies Monitoring and Evaluation" at World Trade Organization Public Forum.  Geneva, Switzerland.
  • 5-7 September 2011:  FAO-OECD Expert Meeting on Greening the Economy with Agriculture, Paris, France.
  • 29-30 November 2010  Global Forum on Agriculture, Paris. 
  • 01-03 November 2010  Crop World 2010, congress on the business, science, trade & technology of sustainable global crop production, with participation of the OECD. London, United Kingdom.


Further reading


Sustainable agriculture:



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