How can we define Green Growth?
Green growth can be defined as a means of stimulating economic development and growth, while also ensuring that the natural resources and environmental services essential to our well-being continue to be available. Green growth offers a realistic and adaptable framework for making meaningful, quantifiable progress across its economic and environmental pillars, and takes into consideration the social implications of greening nations’ growth dynamics. Green growth policies are centered on assuring that natural resources can fulfill their full economic potential in a sustainable way. Examples of this potential include the provision of crucial life support services, such as clean air and water, as well as the resilient biodiversity required to maintain food production and human health.
Green growth strategies must be adjusted to the individual circumstances of each country. Countries must carefully consider managing any potential trade-offs while also maximizing the synergies between poverty reduction and green growth. Examples of the latter include bringing more efficient infrastructure to people (such as in energy, transportation and water), addressing poor health caused by environmental degradation and integrating efficient technologies which can lower costs and raise productivity, while easing environmental pressure. Green growth strategies can minimize vulnerability to environmental threats and boost the livelihood security of the poor in low-income countries, due to the importance of natural assets in these nations.
Green growth methods also acknowledge that reliance on GDP as the primary indicator of economic progress undermines the significance of natural resources in terms of health, wealth, and happiness. As a result, green growth must rely on a wider spectrum of progress indicators, including the composition and quality of growth, as well as how this impacts people’s wealth and well-being.
What does Green Growth mean for Bangladesh?
As one of the fastest growing economies in South Asia, Bangladesh continues to experience sustained economic growth underpinned by macroeconomic stability and strong domestic demand. The country has been growing at an annual average rate of 6 percent for the last decade. Its progress on key human development indicators has continued to improve and it is now one of the best performing countries in South Asia, with higher life expectancy, lower fertility rates and lower infant mortality. Bangladesh has also made good progress on the achievement of the MDGs, particularly in terms of reducing income poverty, getting nearly all boys and girls enrolled in primary school, and reducing child and maternal mortality.
So why does Bangladesh need Green Growth? What does it mean for the country? Current policies and strategies to accelerate economic growth in Bangladesh are not always consistent with environmental protection. In particular, past growth has been reliant on industrialisation that is not environmentally-conscious. The pattern of urbanisation contributes to severe water and air pollution, providing yet another major challenge for environmental protection. Bangladesh is in urgent need to adopt formally a “green growth strategy” that fully reconciles the development agenda with the protection of the environment. In the absence of the green growth strategy and associated regulations, policies and institutions, the costs of environmental degradation have grown over time. Additionally, the adverse effects of climate change are mounting and creating substantial downside risks and vulnerabilities. Against the backdrop of this, the government’s preparation of Vision 2041 under which Bangladesh is envisaged to reach World Bank-defined high-income threshold by FY2041 and eliminate absolute poverty provides an important opportunity to take a fresh look at the environmental degradation and climate change risks. Unless required regulations, policies and institutional reforms are undertaken to fully reconcile the growth and poverty-reduction agenda with the environmental protection needs, there is a substantial risk that the income and poverty targets of Vision 2041 will not be achieved. Thus, embracing green growth strategy is highly crucial for Bangladesh and needs to be urgently implemented.