The Global Green New Deal, which UNEP launched as a concept last October, responds to the current economic malaise.
Spent wisely, however, these stimulus packages could trigger far-reaching and transformational trends, setting the stage for a more sustainable, urgently needed Green Economy for the 21st century.
The trillions of dollars that have been mobilized to address current woes, together with the trillions of investors’ dollars waiting in the wings, represent an opportunity that was unthinkable only 12 months ago: The chance to steer a more resource-efficient and intelligent course that can address problems ranging from climate change and natural-resource scarcity to water shortages and biodiversity loss.
Blindly pumping the current bail-out billions into old industries and exhausted economic models will be throwing good money after bad while mortgaging our children’s future.
Instead, political leaders must use these windfalls to invest in innovation, promote sustainable businesses and encourage new patterns of decent, long-lasting employment.
Achim Steiner, an under-secretary general at the UN, is executive director of the UN Environment Program.
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