The Global Green Growth Forum 2016 Summit in Copenhagen

The three-day Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) 2016 Summit opened in Copenhagen, Denmark on Sunday (June 5). The Forum brings together governments, businesses, investors and international organizations to act together for the implementation of inclusive green growth. This year's Summit has been designed specifically to follow-up on the Paris Climate Agreement of December last year, and the Agreement on UN's Sustainable Development Goals reached at the UN in September 2015.

The Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) was initiated by the Danish government in 2011 in close collaboration with Korea and Mexico. Since then, China, Kenya, Qatar, and Ethiopia have joined the platform, and Vietnam and Chile have become official 3GF partner countries this year. The Prime Minister of Denmark invited some 250-300 leaders from corporations, governments and civil society from all over the world, including the 3GF partnership countries: China, Ethiopia, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Qatar and Vietnam.

This year's Summit is being held under the theme of "A Call to Action - Enabling Solutions at Speed and Scale." The Forum and the countries involved believe the momentum has never been greater for a "green transformation" of our world. This, of course, is only possible through a genuine partnership between public and private sectors as this is necessary to unleash new sources of ideas, technology, and financing to allow for development solutions. The Forum is working to catalyze such game-changing public-private partnerships to accelerate this transition and bring transformative solutions to a global level.

Last year saw large-scale agenda-setting and substantial public commitment on sustainable development. There was the Agreement at the UN on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Agreement on Climate Change reached in Paris.  This year, 2016, is therefore crucial in translating the promises made in 2015 into concrete actions and plans. This, indeed, is what the Global Green Growth 2016 Summit sees as its central task.  Its timing was deliberately designed to maximize progress arising from last year's meetings, to try to help move the world beyond promise into positive action.

The aim of the Summit has been to provide a forum to accompany and accelerate delivery of elements to support the Sustainable Development Goals through transformational public-private partnerships. The SDGs and the climate commitments can only be successfully delivered by nations acting together and in unison. A key challenge for implementation is the need to foster solutions which link these two agendas together. So the Summit focused on elements that align with green growth drivers, so the discussions concentrated on: cities, energy, forests, water, land, sustainable production and consumption including value chains, food and hunger, and finance. It also underlined the importance of setting the right frameworks for promoting sustainable lifestyles, making sustainable production and consumption a reality, and on financing of the green transformation.

The unique feature of the 3GF is the way it enables unique and innovative partnerships to be formed, accelerated and scaled-up. The 3GF 2016 Summit builds on previous work achieved in creating innovative and distinctive partnerships. These are driven by knowledge sharing about successful ventures, in turn sparking further innovation, along with the opportunity for very high level networking. The Forum sees the importance of having an on-going and dynamic process - delivering solutions that can be replicated, speeded up and scaled-up to produce a real and lasting impact. One of the examples of this, launched at the Summit is the Food and Waste Protocol, an international multi-stakeholder partnership devoted to reduce food waste along the value chain from production to consumption.  Another example is the Race to the Top partnership which focuses on sustainable systems of apparel production characterized by measurable progress both in environmental performance and well-being of workers.   It launched a number of new initiatives originating in the work of the Forum's public-private partnerships, including a new initiative to combat climate change and an alliance designed to work to reduce barriers to trade in green energy.

The Forum sees the essence of transformative change as requiring the creation of effective systems which allow for simultaneous action with well-designed frameworks, also involving collaborative action through partnerships and continuous evaluation of impact, in order to tackle global problems of enormous complexity. It emphasizes that cities and urban areas are centers of economic growth and innovation, home to more than half the world's population and the source of 70% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. They must be planned and operate according to green principles, if they are to remain livable as well as create markets for further green development. They are, therefore, crucial for the global transition to a green economy.

Today, the strains on the world's ecosystems have never been greater. More than a billion people currently live in water-scarce regions, and as many as 3.5 billion may experience water scarcity by 2025. Addressing increasing scarcity of water, deforestation and depletion of natural resources are essential for the Sustainable Development Goals' agenda. Similarly, it is essential to ensure the transformation to a new energy regime driven by renewables. Green transformation must, indeed,  be driven by such factors as  greening global value chains, which means  improving resource efficiency to create growth opportunities, generate new markets and jobs, and promote social and environmental benefits;  creating sustainable lifestyles and encouraging a shift to zero waste and clean energy ; and importantly, sufficient private and public green finance.

The Global Green Growth Summits feature some of the most innovative systems thinking available, providing the outline of deliverable and transformative solutions. They offer opportunities for sharing new ideas and evidence as well as experience from partnerships. This year's Summit was no exception, underlining the critical importance of moving faster and further than ever.

The Ethiopian delegation to the Summit was led by Dr. Arkebe Oqubay, Special Adviser to Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn. Dr. Arkebe gave a statement at the opening  plenary session and also took part on a conversation on "A  Call to Action: A Conversation on Enabling Solutions at Speed and Scale in Ethiopia", exploring green growth in Ethiopia, and the country's  experience of climate solutions in the context of mitigation and climate changes in the country. The delegation also included Shiferaw Teklemariam from the Federal Ministry of Health who participated in the sessions on "Unlocking Financial Flows for Restoration" and on "The Role of National Financing in Accelerating Green Growth", described as a session devoted to learning from the practical experiences of those who are making green growth happen on the ground. Ms. Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, of SoleRebels took part in the plenary session on "Going Back in the Value Chain", and "In the session on "Aspirations and Opportunities for the Growing Middle Class".

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