This concept presents a new paradigm in development thinking, emphasizing growth that is friendly to the earth’s ecosystems and can also contribute to poverty alleviation. It is an approach that seeks to achieve sustainable development and requires transformation of production and consumption or lifestyles towards economic activities that enhance and preserve environmental quality while using energy, water and natural resources more efficiently.
Successful transition to a green economy requires various reforms including those that support economic transformation, capacity building, and reform of regulatory frameworks and improved financing mechanisms. With the world’s population at seven billion people − rising to nine billion by 2050, a key challenge will be meeting the energy, food and water needs and ensuring they have clean and healthy living environments (UNEP 2011).
Developing countries are more vulnerable to environmental threats, with environmental risks to human well-being attributed to:
a) Unsustainable natural resource exploitation
b) Lack of access to food, water and energy
c) Lack of basic infrastructure
d) Deadly air and water pollution in the context of rapid urbanization and population growth
e) Large share of rural peoples’ livelihood dependent on natural resources
f) High vulnerability of climate change impacts including a rise in natural disasters such as drought, storms and coastal floods.
The rapid economic growth in developing countries raises the stakes for investments in development but also presents opportunities for greening sectors and businesses. Green Growth hence presents a new approach to economic growth that puts human well-being at the center for development while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and services to support environmental development.