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Heavyweights point to greener growth

Some of the world’s leading economists have joined around 40 ministers, over 340 CEOs and about 300 sustainable development experts to find ways of fighting inequalities and environmental degradation by improving our economic systems.

The second conference of the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) – an alliance of five UN agencies and 11 countries – was hosted by the German Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety in Berlin on 27-28 March.

“We don't have to choose between a healthy environment and a healthy economy: we can have both,” said UN Environment head, Erik Solheim. “What we need now is a great acceleration – a new green revolution – to make sure we achieve inclusive green economy while there is still enough green to go around.”

“Our current economic practices are destroying our planet and hence the resources on which our lives depend… the time has come to reconsider our economic practices and our lifestyles. We need a different kind of growth – one which does not create social divides and which respects planetary boundaries,” said Barbara Hendricks, Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety of Germany.

South Africa’s Environment Minister Edna Molewa, the renowned economist Pavan Sukhdev and Winnie Byanyima – Head of Oxfam International – were among speakers discussing the root economic causes of the growing exploitation of natural resources, climate change and pollution. They also discussed how increasing inequalities are giving rise to radical populism in many parts of the world.

Donations from the European Commission, Germany, Finland, Republic of Korea, Norway and Sweden announced at the event will add close to €15 million to the PAGE budget and step-up UN Environment’s support to developing countries.

UN Environment will later this year issue a report on Inclusive Wealth measuring the wealth of nations in terms of progress, well-being and long-term sustainability rather than only GDP. Countries are drawing down their natural wealth to create short term gains in wealth, it finds - to download a preview click here.

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