“How can we make green economy goals ‘more blue’?” asks Dr. Danka Thalmeinerova from Astana, Kazakhstan, at the Seventh “Environment for Europe” Ministerial Conference.
Rather than being “just another conference”, the Government of Kazakhstan came up with a challenging program called the “Green Bridge.” The main aim of the programme is to integrate plans—between countries of Europe and the Asia-Pacific region—for the transition from traditional economic models to those that include the concepts of green growth.
The Green Bridge initiative includes many fascinating concepts on how to make economic development greener. This seems to be ‘mission impossible.’ Although there are technologies that lower carbon emissions, and there are good practices to reduce agriculture pollution, a lot still needs to be done at the policy level. This ministerial conference is a good place to challenge governments to implement recommendations made by researchers, professional institutions and academia. This forum also makes a space for European and Asian representatives to explore where “bridging” is feasible. Less obvious is the implementation of this ambitious initiative; it requires proving that greener industrial, agriculture, and energy production actually brings value to the development interests of Asia. European countries (potential investors in Asia-Pacific) need to be convinced that a profit would not be lost when making green investments.
It is a good signal that the green economy (even if the definition is not universally agreed) is being discussed here alongside water issues. While the implications of “green” in fields such as energy, industry and transport are clear—and driving technological innovation and economic and environmental reform—the implications for the water domain are not as well recognized. A key policy challenge is to address how water can be managed in a more sustainable manner in its many different physical and social contexts to contribute to the development of green economies. In short, how can we make green economy goals ‘more blue’?
Dr. Thalmeinerova is the Knowledge Management Officer for GWP.