Dubai donors pledge $11 mn for UN-led 'green' economy push

Donors at a Dubai conference on Tuesday pledged over $11 million in support for a UN-led initiative to push for green economies through sharing expertise and technology with developing nations.

The Partnership for Action on a Green Economy, launched by the UN in 2013, tries to help countries "transition towards greener and more inclusive economies," as per the Rio+20 Declaration two years ago.

The programme's backers "have collectively contributed and pledged more than $11 million to jump start activities under the partnership," organisers of the first PAGE conference in Dubai said.

The partnership had started with Mongolia and Peru, and Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Mauritius joined on Tuesday.

Countries including Finland, Norway, South Korea, Sweden and Switzerland finance the programme.

PAGE does not fund projects but helps governments set strategies to develop their economies, according to Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme.

A global shift towards sustainable economies is still met by a "pre-conception that more efficient transitions towards a green economy are somehow going to stop development," Steiner told AFP.

Steiner said green economies could "become a driving force for the global economy as a whole".

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 had been billed as a once-in-a-generation chance to overhaul an economic model that had left a billion people in poverty and imperilled the environment.

But the three-day Rio+20 conference issued a 53-page declaration, which observers said only provided further proof the UN is failing to take action on global environmental threats.