© Commonwealth Secretariat
19 September 2012
Targeting green growth through green economies vital for sustainable development
Promoting green growth, tourism and inclusive growth, regional integration and migration have been identified as priority areas for the development of small states in the Commonwealth.
Equally important is to build resilience among small states to enable them to withstand external shocks. These factors are regarded as key elements to unlock new development opportunities to enhance growth.
Representatives from several small states from across the Commonwealth who held discussions at a two-day global forum at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, UK, from 17 to 18 September 2012, acknowledged the importance of job creation, improving livelihoods and developing sustainable economies.
They agreed that green growth can act as a vehicle for development, and noted the need for policy integration and coherence to act as catalyst. This can be fostered through engagement across a range of ministries, particularly in finance, planning and the environment.
Delegates at the meeting, which drew 60 participants from 31 small states and British overseas territories, as well as experts and representatives from regional and international organisations, highlighted the need for investment in green growth, improved financial support, behavioural change and public education to facilitate green growth. They also agreed on the need for improved research and analysis on the contribution of tourism to national economies.
“Participants considered several contemporary challenges of particular relevance to tourism, including the dominance of an all-inclusive resort model, cruise ship itineraries, national perceptions of what the tourism product is, and improved linkages to other sectors such as agriculture,” Dr Cyrus Rustomjee, Director of Economic Affairs at the Secretariat said.
The delegates underscored the importance of maximising opportunities presented through regional integration given the limited institutional and human capacity of small states, which have a narrow range of goods for exports, economies of scale in small states, and limited financial resources. They agreed the importance of consensus-building and advocacy, and the increased collaboration and partnerships to mobilise development financing.
“Regional trade agreements are an indispensable necessity for small states to strengthen their collective bargaining, and countries need to craft their own solutions based on the regional context,” said delegates in an outcomes statement at the close of the two-day conference.
Delegates noted that the prevailing practice of promoting regional integration and measuring its economic benefits purely through the lens of international trade disregards a number of actual economic benefits, and such an approach may limit the support for regional processes that provide such benefits. They agreed that deeper analysis is needed to develop a framework to better capture and quantify the economic benefits of functional co-operation.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said the association will continue to champion the interests and concerns of small states.
Dr Jeffrey D Lewis, the Director of Economic Policy and Debt Management at the World Bank, said the financial institution remains committed in deepening its collaboration with the Commonwealth to address the concerns and interests of small states.
Click here for the full text of the outcomes document.What are the unique development challenges faced by small states? Explore this interactive story: