21 July 2011, Apia, Samoa - An all encompassing, integrated and inclusive approach was identified as a key to the successful implementation of Green Economy in the Pacific. This was the strong message that came out of the two day Open Forum for the Rio+20 Pacific Preparatory meeting."For a Green Economy to succeed, it will require private sector investment and support, institutional capacity, a socially inclusive and participatory process and an unwavering political will," said Mr Iosefa Maiava, Head of UNESCAP Pacific Office.
'The Mauritius Strategy (MSI)', addresses the unique vulnerabilities of small island developing states (SIDS) and promotes Green Economy and Green Growth as an alternative approach to achieve sustainable development. A Green Economy is a timely response to the challenges faced by the SIDs in the Pacific bought on by the recent global, financial, fuel and food crises, as well as the impacts of Climate Change.
"Pacific Island nations have to identify a suitable approach to involve all the sectors, communities and organisations for the successful implementation of green economy in their islands," said Mr Taulealeausumai Laavasa Malua, CEO for Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
"We need to put our Pacific fingerprint on the final Rio+20 document in 2012, to ensure that the main issues remain visible and are a priority at the global arena."
The Green economy requires a multi stakeholder approach requiring support and partnership from village communities through to organisations and private sectors up to the Government level. One unique aspect of the Pacific that must not be forgotten and should be integrated into the whole of society process is Culture.
According to Mr Feiloakitau Tevi, General Secretary of the Pacific Council of Churches, "some of the solutions can be found in our traditional lifestyles, we just need to revisit, capture and share sustainable traditional knowledge and lifestyles. We also need to include the large informal sector that makes up an average of 60% of all Pacific Island economies."
At the community level, empowering the villages to conduct green initiatives will strengthen the livelihoods for both present and future generations, bring about greater social equity and less poverty. At the government level ownership is crucial for leadership in identifying how the green growth and green economy approaches can be integrated into national plans, policies and budgets.
One clear example of this is the Cook Islands - "The political will from the Prime Minister and Government to drive renewable energy initiatives has made it easier to implement green activities in Cook Islands," stated Ms Elizabeth Koteka, Director of Planning and Policy.
Another key partner to a successful Green Economy for the Pacific is the private sector. Greening businesses and markets is a critical element of green growth as the private sector is considered the engine of development. However their role depends on the availability of financial support and incentives, as stressed by Ms Mereia Volavola, CEO of the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO), "we need funds to support the private sector in building our capacity for green business."
The need for funding support and capacity development were highlighted as two of the common challenges amongst the different sectors during the Open Forum discussions.