Sustainable Development: Do we need a green industrial policy?

Event Type
Side Event at the Rio+20 Conference

Location/Date
Rio de Janeiro, 17.06.2012

Organiser
United Nations Industrial Development Organization, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, The World Bank German Development Institute / Deutsche Institut für Entwicklungspolitik, Fundação Getulio Vargas, Banco Nacional


Industrial policy has made a forceful comeback. The global economic and financial crisis demanded swift action by governments to support and restructure productive activities, and industry in particular, in order to protect employment. At the same time global challenges such as climate change cannot be addressed without decisive policy changes in industry-related incentives and regulations.

The conditions are ripe for placing industrial policy at the core of the policy agenda for green growth and sustainable development. Industry produces large amounts of emissions and pollution while being a major source of employment and wages. Rio + 20 thus become a unique forum for suggesting global and national industrial policies that are green, inclusive and economically dynamic. The side-event "Sustainable Development: Do we need a green industrial policy?" brought together the business sector, governments, academia and representatives of civil society. It aimed at discussing the fundamental sustainability choices and proposing guiding principles and best practices for industrial policy.


Detailed programme

Industrial policy has made a forceful comeback. The global economic and financial crisis demanded swift action by governments to support and restructure productive activities, and industry in particular, in order to protect employment. At the same time global challenges such as climate change cannot be addressed without decisive policy changes in industry-related incentives and regulations. The conditions are ripe for placing industrial policy at the core of the policy agenda for green growth and sustainable development. Industry produces large amounts of emissions and pollution while being a major source of employment and wages. Rio + 20 thus become a unique forum for suggesting global and national industrial policies that are green, inclusive and economically dynamic.

The side-event focused on greening industrial policy for industrial growth, that is, how to widen the scope of traditional industrial policy to incorporate environmental objectives in such a way that industrial development is not only economically and socially but also environmentally sustainable. It discussed the possible synergies and trade-offs between industrial policy objectives and measures oriented to industrial growth, employment generation and environmental impact. It examined strategic directions for industrial development including addressing the sustainability of emerging sectors. It identified policies for influencing the direction of industrial technical change towards more environmentally friendly paths, including improving industrial energy efficiency, which is central to sustainable industrialization and low carbon growth.

The organizing partners covered a broad ground, including international organization (UNIDO, World Bank and United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean), academia (German Development Institute, FundaçãoGetulio Vargas) and the financial sector (BancoNacional de DesenvolvimentoEconômico e Social). The session included a presentation by UNIDO of its 2011 Industrial Development Report on ? Industrial Energy Efficiency for Sustainable Wealth Creation?. Followed by a presentation by the Deutsche Institut für Entwicklungspolitik on the Greening of Industrial Policy and on Sustainability-oriented Innovation Systems as tools to manage a green transformation of the global economy. Finally, the World Bank positioned the current debate on green industrial policies within the broader theme of how countries, especially developing ones, can best adapt to the ongoing climate change. Before turning to an interactive session with the audience, feedback and reactions were provided by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the FundaçãoGetulio Vargas and the BancoNacional de DesenvolvimentoEconômico e Social, with a specific focus to the ground realities in the Latin American context.

The outcomes of the meeting are the creation of an international network of individuals and institutions actively working and cooperating on greening industrial policy and the outline of an industrial policy framework for achieving economic, social and environmental objectives through industrial development, which are all key components to the objective of UNCSD/Rio+20.

Moderator:

  • Wilfried Luetkenhorst, Managing Director, UNIDO

Panelists:

  • Tilman Altenburg, Head of Department, German Development Institute
  • Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Andrew Steer, Special Envoy for Climate Change, World Bank
  • Alessandro Teixeira, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Brazil
  • Kandeh Yumkella, Director-General, United Nations Industrial Development Organization

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Event information

Date
17.06.2012

Location
Rio de Janeiro, RIOCENTRO, Room T-3