Sustainability path: green economy movement face challenges

By Alejandro Ríos,
Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium

The impact of environmental degradation brought forth by human actions done in the name of progress over decades has given rise to a new socio-economic development paradigm. It highlights the need to equally promote social equality, environmental sustainability and economic stability – all of which are closely intertwined.

This paradigm, known as green economy, is the result of the mounting need to adopt a new strategic approach that drives significant growth but with care regards to the environment and sustainable use of our finite natural resources.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) advocate for a green economy transition. One-third of the agenda’s 169 targets relate to the green economy concept as per the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

While this is easy to say, there is nothing simple about leaving behind the old ways of doing things to make a landmark shift to this form of economic framework. The transformation, like any other change, is replete with challenges.

Another challenge, apart from the threat of questionable business models, deals with green investments and funding. Ambitious projects and initiatives needed to build a green economy do not come cheap. In this regard, governments and businesses are enjoined to earmark substantial capital funding to help fuel and sustain the green economy movement.

It helps that more than 9,500 companies, up from 8,000 companies in 2018, are already part of the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.

Innovative solutions are part and parcel of a genuine green economy. In the UAE, several institutions, especially in the academic sector, encourage innovative research, help bring tangible solutions to some of our most pressing challenges, including water, energy and food security.

Forming a permanent collaboration among international stakeholders is also an endeavor that can be quite challenging. Sustained international cooperation is crucial to determine and formulate unified actions towards our shared environmental sustainability goals.

We need to continue our dialogues and build partnerships to create a flourishing and sustainable environment that caters to the current and future requirements.

Climate change affects everyone. Hence, we join forces, contribute and play our part as the green economy remains the only viable way forward.

Challenges abound but so do opportunities!

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