17 and 18 March 2012, New York, USA - ‘Enabling Conditions’ such as strengthening human resources and skills, and participatory governance, are crucial factors for advancing a green transformation. This was among the themes discussed during the Second Global Transition 2012 Dialogue on the New Economy, at Pace University, New York from 17-18 March 2012. The event was co-organized by Stakeholder Forum, nef (the new economics foundation), the New Economics Institute and the Green Economy Coalition, working in collaboration with several international partners, including the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and UN CC:Learn.

The aim of the event was to bring together a variety of government and non-government stakeholders to develop ideas and generate thinking on how to transition to a new and green economy. In view of the policy discussions surrounding the UN Conference on Sustainable Development 2012 (Rio+20), a vital element of the dialogue was on how the green economy, in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, can deliver. It is a follow up to the First Global Transition 2012 Dialogue that took place in October 2011, also in New York, where 25 lead authors and experts came together to discuss ideas and identify principles for the Global Transition to a Green Economy.

The contribution of UNITAR and UN CC:Learn to the workshop focused on supporting a discussion on strengthening institutional and knowledge-based enabling conditions, including learning and skills development, and transparent and participatory environmental governance. The session on ‘enabling conditions’, moderated by Ms. Roshni Dave, Training Associate, UNITAR, included an assorted and distinguished panel of representatives from government, private sector and the United Nations. Mr. Daniel Abreu, National Climate Change Council of the Dominican Republic and Focal Point for the National UN CC:Learn Pilot Project presented a case study on the successful development of an institutional framework in the country. He pointed out the importance of a participatory process involving different stakeholders, and emphasized that education and learning will be key to implementing the proposed green economy principles. Mr. Paul Dickinson, Chairman of the Carbon Disclosure Project spoke about the dual role of citizens and the private sector in promoting corporate responsibility and pushing for sustainable development reporting. In his statement as a panelist, Mr. Sheng Fulai, Senior Economist at the Economics and Trade Branch of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) pointed out the need to re-invest in green sectors, underscoring the contribution of green investment to job growth and income generation. 

In general, the two-day dialogue addressed a couple of significant questions: In what ways are green economy policies delivering poverty reduction and how can we create sectors that are resilient and resource-efficient? In an attempt to formulate answers, many presentations were covered, ranging from principles for a new economy to green economy knowledge sharing platforms and a road map for the green economy. Several case studies highlighting a grassroots approach to a new and green economy were made by Nicole Leotaud (Caribbean Natural Resources Institute - CANARI), Aron Belinky (Vitae Civilis), Vijay Chaturvedi (Development Alternatives) and José-Arturo Santos (International Union for Conservation of Nature - IUCN). In addition, focused roundtable discussions on concepts such as sustainable consumption and production, sustainable energy, financial reform as well as green jobs, provided a venue for participants to share their experiences of transitioning to a new and green economy.

Several other messages were reinforced during the dialogue, including a call for establishing improved indicators for tracking progress towards sustainable development, promoting the principle of equity and inclusiveness in the transition to a new and green economy and the need to entrench teaching of sustainable development in the realm of training and education globally. In her key note address, Ms. Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Coordinator, Rio+20, reminded participants of our obligations to future generations. She also drew attention to the importance of strengthening national education and learning systems to deliver on education for sustainable development.

Other international partners of the Global Transition 2012 Dialogue include: CIVICUS, Centre for Environment and Development, Danish 92 Group, Instituto Vitae Civilis, International Trade Union Confederation, Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development (nrg4SD), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNEP and United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS).

The Third Global Transition 2012 Dialogue on Implementing the Global Transition Roadmap is planned for July 2012.

For additional information, please contact Ms. Roshni Dave (roshni.dave@unitar.org), Ms. Kirsty Schneeberger (kirstys@stakeholderforum.org) or visit: Global Transition 2012 Initiative (www.globaltransition2012.org).