Press release UNEP - Participants at Paris Forum call for a shift from

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PARIS, 4 April 2013 - Participants at an international forum taking place in the French capital today, who included government officials, representatives of international and non-governmental organizations, and the private sector, said that green growth was the path to follow to achieve a global transition to a Green Economy and a more sustainable mode of development for all

They called for a shift away from labour- and resource-intensive production towards resource-efficient productivity. Speakers at the Paris Forum 2013, the theme of which was "Towards a sustainable economic paradigm: From labour to resource productivity", emphasized the fact that the existing economic development model was under unprecedented strain, and lower resource use and fewer negative environmental impacts were needed. They said that a new economic model of growth was urgently required. The event was organized by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) with the support of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)

New forms of agricultural and industrial production were a prerequisite for delivering more goods and services, but with a radically lower "footprint" on the Earth’s resources, said participants. At the centre of this new growth model was the urgent need to decouple economic growth from an increase in raw material use — "doing more with less", a key requirement to achieve the shift to a Green Economy, which is defined as an economy that results in improved human well-being and social equity while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. A Green Economy is low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially inclusive.

"Resource scarcity calls for a change in model. Green growth will be based on energy efficiency, but also on the new revolution of a circular economy," said Delphine Batho, France’s Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. "In this way we can promote economic growth that is resourceefficient but rich in jobs, and which carries with it environmental as well as social progress."

The new economic paradigm should be based on a green economy for green growth; regulatory, policy and financing frameworks for a green economy; and a green industry for a strengthened economy.

"This type of conference is essential in the current economic climate, and for the future of this country and its enterprises. It is truly a mix of public policies contributing to green growth, which at the same time offers a strong political framework for business and promotes eco-innovation," said Arnaud Montebourg, France’s Minister for Industrial Renewal.

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'Rio+20 has set the stage for a fundamental shift in the way our economies produce and consume, and identified the Green Economy as an important pathway towards achieving a sustainable century," saidUnder Secretary General and UN Environment Programme Executive Director Achim Steiner. "The imperative for industry is to internalize what such a transition means and to seize the opportunities it provides in a world of increasing resource scarcity, consumer demands for greater accountability, and the risks to supply chains from impacts like climate change—many are doing this but we need many more to achieve a critical mass—not only large multinationals but small to medium sized enterprises as well," he added.

The Director General of UNIDO, Mr Kandeh K Yumkella, said: "UNIDO strongly supports the call for a new economic paradigm that no longer revolves around labour productivity, but instead emphasizes resource productivity. As material resources become ever scarcer, and the world’s population continues to grow, achieving resource-efficient, low-carbon growth is more vital than ever to sustain the planet’s ecosystems and protect our natural resources. In this regard, our Green Industry initiative places industrial development in the context of global sustainable development challenges."

Didier Mercier, deputy CEO of AFD, said: "AFD is strongly committed to fostering economic models that are compatible with limited natural resources. AFD has developed very ambitious strategies regarding climate and energy issues to support developing countries in achieving their transition towards sustainable growth paths".

The Paris Forum coincides with another meeting being held in Paris, the second annual conference of the Green Growth Knowledge Platform, taking place at the OECD on April 4-5. A paper released at that meeting, called "Moving towards a Common Approach on Green Growth Indicators", will establish a joint basis for measuring green growth which will help to bridge the experience of governments and the private sector on reporting and measuring for the green economy.