Green growth and sustainable development

OECD Green Growth Newsletter March 2012 (Issue Twelve)




The OECD Green Growth Newsletter keeps OECD Committees and other stakeholders informed about the OECD’s green growth activities.


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We welcome your comments on this newsletter and the Strategy overall. Please send any feedback to [email protected]

The road to Rio+20

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro on 20-22 June 2012 represents a critical milestone within efforts to address pressing economic and environmental challenges and to help advance countries' common aspirations towards sustainable development and poverty eradication. The OECD is committed to supporting countries in reaching positive outcomes at Rio+20, and thereafter to implement emerging agreements.


The OECD contribution to Rio+20 will focus on the theme of a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and include key points from the new Environmental Outlook to 2050, country- and sector-specific work on green growth, monitoring tools, and measuring aid targeting the objectives of the Rio conventions. Read more about the OECD at Rio+20.

Focus on environmentally harmful subsidies

Subsidies are pervasive throughout OECD countries and worldwide. Every year, OECD countries transfer at least USD 400 billion to different economic sectors. Much of this support is potentially environmentally harmful. Subsidies on fossil fuels, for example, both encourage pollution and constrain the ability of governments to engage in programmes to boost greener growth long term through, for example, improved health and education. Subsidy reform may be an appropriate opportunity to resolve these issues.


The IEA has estimated that subsidies to fossil fuel consumption in emerging and developing countries amounted to some USD 409 billion in 2010. And, for the first time ever, the OECD has compiled an inventory of over 250 measures that support fossil-fuel production or use in 24 industrialised countries, which together account for 95% of energy supply in OECD countries. Those measures had an overall value of about USD 45-75 billion a year between 2005 and 2010. For more information, see Inventory of Estimated Budgetary Support and Tax Expenditures for Fossil Fuels.

These subsidies result in fuel prices below world market prices whether delivered through price controls or through public expenditures. Reforming or eliminating inefficient support for the consumption or production of fossil fuels can contribute to achieving economic and fiscal objectives, while also helping to tackle environmental problems like climate change. It could free up scarce government resources for other priorities, such as protecting vulnerable households, stimulating employment creation, or helping to address climate change at home or in developing countries.


Read more about the OECD work on fossil fuel subsidies :

Green growth in action: Czech Republic

Following the impressive economic growth of the past two decades, the concept of sustainable economy is becoming more important in the Czech Republic, in order to sustain development while effectively managing and using natural resources. In 2010 the Czech government adopted a Strategic Framework for Sustainable Development. This strategy lays the broad foundations of sustainable objectives that the country aims to achieve in the long term.


In 2011 the Czech Statistical office released Green Growth in the Czech Republic: Selected Indicators, using 27 of the 30 indicators proposed by the OECD in Towards Green Growth: Monitoring Progress. 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. However, the environmental quality of life has improved.

Read more about green growth in action in the Czech Republic.


Recent event: Green cities

On 8 March the OECD held the Fourth Roundtable of Mayors and Ministers 2012 in Chicago. The meeting brought together participants to discuss “Mobilising investments for urban sustainability, job creation and resilient growth". The Roundtable has provided a unique opportunity for city leaders and representatives of national governments, international organizations, businesses and NGOs to define a new partnership in support of urban sustainability, one that brings together public and private actors at all levels to ensure a coordinated multi-level approach to integrating economic, environmental and social objectives in building greener, more sustainable cities.


The participants concluded that coherence between national and local policies, accessible finance, including new sources of funding, and reliable, timely indicators that will allow cities to measure the tangible impacts of investments and policy interventions are essential to achieve urban sustainability. Read the .

The G20 on green growth


 “11. Recognizing the importance of "green growth" we ask the OECD, with the World Bank and the UN, to prepare a report that provides options for G20 countries on inserting green growth and sustainable development policies into structural reform agendas, tailored to specific country conditions and level of development. We will contribute to the preparation of the report by voluntarily informing on our actions to integrate green growth and sustainable development into structural reform agendas. We will continue to work on climate finance and report to our Leaders in June.”


– G20 Communiqué, Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, Mexico City, 25-26 February 2012.

Green growth: Making it happen

In a recent article published in Europe’s World, Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General answers the question: what is new about green growth? “Since the Rio Earth Summit twenty years ago, we have known that green and growth must go together. What is different now? Let me give you a simple answer: green growth is not about replacing sustainable development with a new paradigm. It is instead an approach that can contribute to the successful implementation of sustainable development through concrete policy action by governments and stakeholders. Green growth is a practical and flexible approach for making progress along the economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, while taking full account of the social consequences of greening the growth dynamics of our economies. Green growth strategies focus on ensuring that natural assets can deliver their full economic potential. That includes the provision of basic services – clean air and water – and the resilient biodiversity and ecosystems needed to support food production and human health.”

Read the full article.

Recent publications

>>Further reading

March/April key events

  • 12-17 March: 6th World Water Forum, Marseille, France. 

  • 17-19 March: China Development Forum, Beijing, the People's Republic of China.  

  • 29-30 March: Making Green Growth Deliver, Environment Policy Committee (EPOC) at ministerial level

  • 19-21 April: African Conference on Measuring and Fostering the Progress of Societies, in preparation for the 4th OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policies (New Delhi October 2012). Rabat, Morocco.

For more information, see the green growth events calendar

Accessing the International Green Growth Dialogue site for the first time  


If you have access problems, please email Catherine Jeffcoat, [email protected]


Contact us


Nathalie Girouard, Coordinator, Green Growth Strategy, [email protected]

OECD Green Growth website | International Green Growth Dialogue site



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