International Workshop on Green Transition

Event: Sustainable Growth Model

To discuss the way forward for the green transition of emerging and industrialized economies alike, experts from Germany, India, Japan, the USA and the UN met with their Chinese colleagues in a one-and-a-half-day workshop at the Institutes of Science and Development of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CASISD) in Beijing.

 

2015 was a breakthrough year for sustainable development, marked by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (a. k. a. the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs) adopted as a United Nations Resolution in September, and of course, the much-celebrated Paris Agreement reached at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December (a. k. a. COP21/CMP11).

 

However, despite those high-profile political achievements, as well as continuing research and debate in environmental policy circles, the ideas and goals are yet to be transformed into comprehensive policy strategies in most countries, particularly those towards the broader aspect of overall green development, e. g. the transformation of industrial and even societal structures.

 

Against this backdrop, this international workshop, jointly organized by the Institutes of Science and Development of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CASISD) and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), aimed at exploring strategies, policy approaches as well as engagement with major stakeholders and ways of fostering international cooperation in the context of green transition, both with respect to emerging and industrialized countries. The main objective of the workshop was to initiate in-depth discussions among academic, but policy-oriented experts and to develop concrete recommendations on making progress with respect to green transition.

 

The workshop started with presentations by representatives of China, Germany, India, Japan and the USA on the current state of green transition in their respective countries, followed by talks and discussions on the topics of coordination by international organizations, economic and financial implications, challenges and opportunities for emerging economies, and finally, lessons from industrialized economies. After those introductory sessions, and as the main part of this workshop, the participants divided into three parallel working groups to engage in highly interactive in-depth exchanges on core aspects of green transition, namely strategy and policy mix, technology and finance, and finally, stakeholders and social challenges. At the end of the workshop, the results from the three working groups, in form of suggestions for further action on green transition, were presented to the entire assembly of participants for a final round of discussion.

 

Participants agreed that in all parts of the world, existing political and economic structures and vested interests continue to form formidable barriers to green transition, despite mounting environmental and social pressure as well as growing willingness and eagerness among governments and societies. So far, there have been very encouraging successes, as well as frustrating setbacks and seemingly insurmountable burdens. For the future of green transition, more international coordination and cooperation was considered by all to be of crucial importance, as was increasing public awareness and mobilizing all societal sectors for a bottom-up push for change.

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