Published:  08:40 PM, 19 August 2020 Last Update: 08:45 PM, 19 August 2020

A Journey to green economy

A Journey to green economy
In the modern business environment, sustainable development is largely achieved through the implementation of the concept of the green economy, both at the global and national as well as at the corporate level.

In 2011, the Government set up the Green Growth Strategy Framework. Like tree plantation, using environment-friendly technology in brickfields, establishing environment court in every district, introducing bio-fertilizer, etc.

Some steps like forming green climate fund, producing Climate Fiscal Framework, delta plan-2100 and recent members of parliament adopt climate emergency and planet emergency, etc. and Bangladesh Banks initiatives like direct and indirect green fiancé investment are all appreciable.

The overall objective of the proposed strategic framework is that Vietnam establishes a basic economic, social, scientific and technological basis for achieving green growth, low carbon, and building economic structures.

The banking sector is one of the major sources of financing industrial projects such as steel, paper, cement, chemicals, fertilizers, power, textiles, etc., which cause maximum carbon emission.

Therefore, the banking sector can play an intermediary role between economic development and environmental protection, for promoting environmentally sustainable and socially responsible investment. 'Green banking' refers to the banking business conducted in such areas and in such a manner that help the overall reduction of external carbon emission and internal carbon footprint.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015. The vision of this agenda anticipates a world free of poverty, hunger, disease, want, free of fear and violence, a world with universal literacy, equitable and universal access to quality education at all levels.

The plan determines to protect the planet from degradation through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change. It also plans that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature.

The pledge of the 2030 agenda is that 'no one will be left behind' in the collective journey. The agenda plans to ensure the rule of law, justice, equality and non-discrimination with respect of race, ethnicity and cultural diversity.

The economy of Bangladesh is flourishing now. Bangladesh's economy has been deeply integrated into the global division of labor, with the other Asian countries leapfrogging to the top of the developed world. Remarkably, all these success stories have been achieved using a development model.

The government has taken a lot of mega projects for improving the lifestyle of people and strengthening the institutional structure. It increases the GDP and employment generation. Along with GDP and employment, people also rely on natural resources and have a direct relationship with it. Due to a lack of incorporating with another sector, megaprojects like Rampal coal-based power plants, Roopur nuclear power plants become threats for the future. 

The term 'green economy' was first used in 1989 in a report submitted to the UK government by a group of leading economic experts in fog. Where classical and neo-classical economics has started and is still valid today. With the advent of the term "green economy," the term "green growth" was also known at the 2005 Environmental Development Conference in Seoul, South Korea.

On the economic, social and environmental front, more and more green technologies are being introduced, creating green lifestyles and sustainable consumption. Specific objectives up to 2020 are set out, focusing on three main goals for reforming the growth model and restructure the economy: (i) reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing use clean energy, renewable energy; (ii) green production; (iii) greening the way of life and promoting sustainable consumption.

A picture seen wind turbines and a large solar panel.

Vision to 2050, Vietnam will establish adequate material, technical, human and institutional resources to disseminate and implement green growth practices.

Green economy could be an overarching goal for both developed and developing countries in making future development more sustainable. While the concern of the industrialized economies is how to reduce environmental risks and keep the economy green, the concern of the developing economies is how growth can be promoted without degrading the natural resource base and with respect for the principles of low-carbon economy.

For the mountain regions, particularly those of the developing economies where millions of people live in a fragile environment and depend mainly on natural resources for their living, the challenge is how to sustainably manage the ecosystems, strengthen resilience to climate change and economic pressures, and promote low-carbon based economic growth and social justice.

As one of the fastest growing economies in South Asia, Bangladesh continues to experience sustained economic growth underpinned by macroeconomic stability and strong domestic demand. The country has been growing at an annual average rate of 6 percent for the last decade.

Its progress on key human development indicators has continued to improve and it is now one of the best performing countries in South Asia, with higher life expectancy, lower fertility rates and lower infant mortality. Bangladesh has also made good progress on the achievement of the MDGs, particularly in terms of reducing income poverty, getting nearly all boys and girls enrolled in primary school, and reducing child and maternal mortality.

Bangladesh still has further growth potential. In 2007, Goldman Sachs listed Bangladesh in their 'Next 11' economies, highlighting its potential to become one of the world's largest economies in the 21st century. However, current policies and strategies to accelerate economic growth in Bangladesh are not always consistent with environmental protection.

In particular, past growth has been reliant on industrialization that is not environmentally-conscious. The pattern of urbanization contributes to severe water and air pollution, providing yet another major challenge for environmental protection.

Evidence suggests that environmental degradation and climate change related risks and vulnerabilities have intensified in Bangladesh. Loss of forest land, the degradation of land, sea and river water pollution, indiscriminate filling of water bodies for land acquisition, unsustainable use of ground water and fishery resources in ponds, lakes and rivers, and unsustainable ways of shrimp farming have collectively taken a huge toll on the degradation of the eco-system and consequent loss of bio-diversity.

A global ranking of per capita forest cover prepared by for 2005 puts Bangladesh at the near bottom of the list of countries compared (186 out of 192). Bangladesh is one of the lowest ranked countries in the global Environmental Performance Index prepared by the Yale Centre for Environmental Law and Policy: in the 2016 report it ranks 173 out of 180 countries.

At the macro-level, indicative projections show that the combined effects of moderate climate change could cause an average GDP growth loss of about 1.3 percent per year between FY2017 and FY2041.

The growth policy articulated in the Bangladesh 6th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) and the Perspective Plan Bangladesh (2010-2021) have 'green' growth elements and seek to introduce poverty, climate and environment into development planning processes.

The National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) 2010-2021 was adopted in May 2013, and contains an impressive list of environmental laws, regulations and plans that covers a wide range of environmental issues including forestry control, air pollution, water pollution, bio-diversity preservation and wetland management.

The 7th Five-Year Plan articulates the promotion of green growth and sustainable development. The Plan outlines that the development approach will revolve around three themes, one of which is: "A sustainable development pathway that is resilient to disaster and climate change; entails sustainable use of natural resources; and successfully manages the inevitable urbanization transition".

The agenda for green growth for Bangladesh is undoubtedly daunting, but not impossible. The 2041 Perspective Plan, currently under preparation, provides a major opportunity to jump start the green growth agenda and step up the policies, program, institutional reforms and financing that will allow Bangladesh to reconcile its growth and poverty agenda with environmental protection.

Major strategic consideration in translating the vision of 'green' growth and corresponding targets for environmental management into actions is to demonstrate tangible ways in which the green growth strategy can help the growth agenda.

Incentive policies for environmental protection such as adoption of green tax on fossil fuel consumption are missing. Similarly, pricing policies for water, fertilizer and timber do not allow for environmental consideration.

Regulatory policies for controlling water and air pollution are either weak or not properly enforced. Monitoring and evaluation of environmental degradation and effectiveness of redressing measures is absent or weak owing to a lack of adequate information and capacity.

There are also needed for specific economic plans in a development project for eliminating persistent poverty through environmentally benign activities incorporation with another sector like the above countries. Government megaprojects in economic development need inclusiveness of all people and all sectors considering justice to other sectors. Finally, to achieve the conditions of good society for the economy of tomorrow, government fundamental policy for coordinating the whole sector is a must.

The writer is working with The Asian Age.

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